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Vanished Smile – The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa

April 27, 2009

vanished-smileR.A. Scotti’s Vanished Smile tells the tale of the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. A little verbose, but a great story, Scotti takes us from the painting of the famous portrait, her travels through Europe (she was one of Napoleon’s favorites), the famous theft and the following investigation.

I saw the Mona Lisa when I was eleven years old. That could be one reason I don’t remember her as the captivating beauty that has intrigued artists, historians and the public for centuries. I spent some time looking at online photos of the painting while reading this book (of course not the same as the real painting or even a print), but the famous smirk seems to have grown on me. Scotti often describes the painting as if she was a real woman – “Mona Lisa had stepped out of her frames as effortlessly as a woman stepped out of her petticoats” – and by the end of the novel, you can see yourself being one of the visitors who came to the Louvre just to see the blank space on the wall where she used to hang.

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