A few days ago I tweeted an article from the Daily Mail that I thought my followers would find interesting. Sure enough it prompted a lot of responses and retweets. It seems that a campaign is afoot to bring the Mona Lisa back “home” to Italy, specifically the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. I reacted to the story with amusement, mainly because I can’t imagine the Louvre would ever in a million years hand over its most prized and popular possession. The Italians can gather as many signatures as they want (150,000 so far) but they must know that they’re dealing with the French government which rightfully owns the painting. According to art historians Leonardo da Vinci began working on the painting in Florence but left it unfinished for years. He then brought the painting with him when he moved to France in 1516 and continued working on it. After Leonardo’s death, the Mona Lisa was acquired by the French Royal family. My guess is that Mona is staying put.
The Mona Lisa has also endured more than her share of theft and vandalism over the years. During the famous theft of the painting in 1911, one of those wrongfully accused of stealing Mona was Pablo Picasso. I have to confess I get a kick out of that But the guilty culprit turned out to be a Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia whose alleged motivation for the crime was that he believed the painting belonged back in her “homeland” of Italy. Though he served six months in jail, Peruggia was still hailed as a true Italian patriot for his actions. The ghost of Peruggia is probably applauding today’s renewed efforts to bring Mona back. His “cause” refuses to die!
Hasn’t the Mona Lisa been through enough? This whole thing reminds of that crazy kid who posted the YouTube video abut Britney Spears. I say “Leave Mona Alone!!!!”
Even though I don’t think Mona is going anywhere, this story does open up a can of worms in the field of art provenance. Should every country start demanding its works back from museums in other countries? Should the United States reclaim all its Whistlers, Hoppers, and Pollocks? Should Spain demand every single Picasso from every museum around the world? Should the Netherlands retrieve all the Rembrandts and Van Goghs? When does it end?
Since I missed Music Monday two days ago (believe it or not I was still under the weather with my stomach ailment), let’s have one now, a Music Wednesday if you will. Take it away Nat King Cole!