In West Germany a museum has staged an unusual exhibition which examines current attitudes towards the famous Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
In West Germany a museum has staged an unusual exhibition which examines current attitudes towards the famous Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Called 'Mona Lisa in the 20th Century', it features modern paintings by artists critical of the 16th Century work. To publicise the show, West Germany's Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg advertised for a living 'double' of the Mona Lisa.
SYNOPSIS: The enigmatic smile of da Vinci's painting has fascinated the art world for more than 450 years -- but in this century the painting has often been mocked by modern artists. One example is Uwe Piper's interpretation of the Mona Lisa as a cleaning woman.
The Dutchwoman, Saskia de Boer, saw the Mona Lisa in a different dimension in this 1974 statue.
Painter Martin Schwarz took a humorous approach with his canvas called The Absent Mona Lisa. The modern approach to da Vinci's work, as the Duisburg exhibition clearly showed, is not one of admiration. More often than not, the Mona Lisa has been used as an opportunity for an undisguised attack on a work of art which, until this century, had been uncritically acclaimed as a great masterpiece.
English artist John Mullin in his 1975 arrangement, saw the Mona Lisa simply as a tourist attraction at the Louvre.
A Russian, Kasimir Malevishch, began the unconventional approach in 1914, soon to be followed by many other artists including Ferdinand Leger, who was responsible for this 1930 work called Mona Lisa with Keys.
Modern advertising men were quick to realise the possibilities of using a masterpiece to seel their products. They knew that the Mona Lisa, instantly recognisable, would be an easy way to attract attention -- as did Salvador Dali's highly individual 1971 version.
The home of the original Mona Lisa in Paris was chosen to show off the winners of a Mona Lisa look-alike competition organised by the Lehmbruck Museum. These nine women were the winners picked from 800 from all over Europe who entered the competition.
To make the similarity more convincing cosmetics were used with excellent effect.
Fully prepared, the finalists posed with a poster of the original Mona Lisa. And the woman on the far right was chosen as the Mona Lisa of 1978.