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Fingers & Fumbs: Mona Lisa's eyebrows

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eggshaped
322976.  Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:08 am Reply with quote

Question: Here is one of the most famous works of art in history [show pic], but what has happened to her eyebrows?

FORFEIT: Hen Night

A9. The Mona Lisa once had both eyebrows and eyelashes, but no more: they have been gradually lost thanks to successive restorations; eroded to the point that they are no longer visible.


Notes:
One of the most unusual parts of the Mona Lisa is her lack of eyebrows. A common explanation was that at the time of painting, it was fashionable for ladies to shave them off, but digital scanning has shown that her facial hair has been eroded thanks to years of restoration. Using 240-megapixel scans, traces of La Gioconda’s left eyebrow can be seen; cracks around the eyes have also disappeared which is the telltale sign that the area has been restored during cleaning. Other secrets unveiled by scanning include the fact that she was originally holding up a blanket with her right hand, and that Da Vinci changed the position of a number of the her fingers.

A self-admitted spurious study from the University of Amsterdam used emotion-recognition software to analyse the famous smile. It showed that the subject was 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful and 2% angry. She was less than 1% neutral, and not at all surprised. Another study supposedly showed that the Mona Lisa had an unusually deep voice for a woman, while a third “showed” that she was pregnant. In 1852, artist Luc Maspero killed himself by jumping from a window because he couldn't work out the secret of Mona Lisa's smile.

The painting’s celebrity only dates from 1911 when it was stolen by Italian, Vincenzo Peruggia; though at the time it was thought to be the doings of avant-garde foreign art subversives. Picasso was interrogated, and the Italian poet Apollinaire was briefly imprisoned. After it was stolen, Parisians flocked to the Louvre to stare at the blank space where the painting had been. These days 90% of visitors to the Louvre go straight to the Mona Lisa, look at it for three minutes or less, and leave the museum. Most are a bit disappointed, particularly by her size. Peruggia managed to get the painting out of its frame, stick it under his smock and smuggle it back to his apartment on the bus, where he kept it in a cupboard for over two years. The Florence hotel where the thief was apprehended is now named "La Gioconda"

In 1919, surrealist Marcel Duchamp appropriated La Gioconda by adding a moustache and goatee. The piece was named "LHOOQ": a sort of French text-speak for "Elle a chaud au cul", translating colloquially as "She has a hot ass".


Picture ideas:


Though Duchamp's Dada masterpiece LHOOQ might be funnier:



Further sources:
http://www.livescience.com/history/071018-mona-lisa.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/sep/23/arts.topstories3


Last edited by eggshaped on Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:19 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Flash
323411.  Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:52 pm Reply with quote

Unfortunately the essay is going to have to be much shorter than that to fit on an A5 card, egg. Having said that, I'm going to ask you to add something: the meaning of LHOOQ.
Quote:
"LHOOQ" is a sort of French text-speak for "Elle a chaud au cul", translating colloquially as "She has a hot ass".

So: shorter and longer, please.

 
eggshaped
323490.  Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:23 am Reply with quote

Shortened. And lengthened.

Do you have a word-count that you usually work towards? I guess 400 is about right? That rewrite is 391 words (not-coincidentally the same as your knights in armour piece)

 
dr.bob
323520.  Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:02 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
These days 90% of visitors to the Louvre go straight to the Mona Lisa, look at it for three minutes or less, and leave the museum.


When I went to The Louvre, I didn't bother risking the crowds to see the Mona Lisa, so I don't know for sure, but when Dr Mrs Bob went as a child, she said that it was impossible to look at the painting for very long as the guards kept a steady stream of people constantly moving past it, so you literally had no time to stop and admire it.

Is that true, or is that some strange punishment they mete out to British school parties?

 
Flash
323546.  Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:39 am Reply with quote

James - that looks about right to me. If it needs to be trimmed further to fit on the card we can do that on the day.

Thanks.

 

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