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Leonardo and the Mona Lisa Story: The History of a Painting Told in Pictures 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1585678402
ISBN-10: 1585678406
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donald Sassoon is probably the world’s leading expert on the Mona Lisa. He is the author of Becoming Mona Lisa: The Making of a Global Icon. Currently a professor of comparative European history at the University of London, Sassoon was educated in Paris, Milan, London, and the United States.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press; 1 edition (September 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585678406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585678402
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,902,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Surely not as prolific a painter as many others none-the-less Leonardo da Vinci painted two of the world's five most famous paintings; 'The Last Supper' and 'Mona Lisa'.

This book thoughtfully presents the history, technique, and all the trivia regarding 'Mona Lisa'.

One would think that the dimentions of this colossus would be larger than 21 X 30". But thats what Leonardo chose. Why would it take him 3+ years to paint? Why would he paint it on perilously thin poplar wood? How did he achieve that divine smile?

Here is presented the answers and history of this iconic painting. From it's benign renaissance beginning through it's establishment as a masterpiece and onto it's becoming a phenomenon.

August 1911 the 'Mona Lisa' was no longer in the Louvre. "The Theft of the Century" is a most captivating chapter

The history is followed nicely by copious reproductions of the painting and it's contemporaries along with photos from 1911-2006 of events and key characters. Many modern renditions by the likes of Warhol, Dali, Dubuffet, Masson, etc. are included.

A well thought out and wonderfully presented history of this global icon. Donald Sasson is a leading expert on the 'Mona Lisa'. This edition is more user friendly (for the masses) compared to his more academic other version.
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Format: Hardcover
Donald Sassoon has put together a brilliant book with more illustrations than text (pictures are worth 1000s of words) and the reproductions are very high quality for a book of this price. I would venture to say that even non-art buffs would enjoy this book if you left it out on a table or wherever. Not only is it a great review of Mona Lisa but also Renaissance art (sounds boring but it is anything but). Also included are modern interpretations of the Mona Lisa and what has made the painting so iconic throughout its history. Some of my favorites: a photo of the Kennedys visiting the Mona Lisa, Leonardo's drawing of exploding cannonballs, the painting of Leonardo as he lays dying in France, an old photo of an engraver working in the Louvre, a Chanel ad, the mustached versions and even the New Yorker cover Mona Lisa in a Mets uniform. The illustrations and discussions of not only Leonardo but other artists of his time are first rate; I could just go on and on. The book is not large or heavy so it can be carried around easily, would make a great gift, as well as a great addition to any library. It is scholarly, beautiful, easy to handle, and lots of fun.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very beautiful little book that deserves a much larger format. It contains many color plates of not only da Vinci's work, but many other artists and contemporary paintings of the period. The text is sparse and the art work does most the talking.

In 1911, a character named Vincenzo Peruggia , a 30 year old painter-decorator who had been working in the Louvre, removed the painting from its frame, hid it under his coat and walked out the door. It was not returned again for two years. Vincenzo tried to sell the painting and got caught.

The painting was damaged in 1956 when a crazed Bolivian seized a rock, hurling it at the Mona Lisa, smashing the glass and permanently damaging the left arm of the painting. Needless to say, he was banned from ever visiting the museum.

Art historians and lovers of fine art will love this book. The text is brief but the art works and other photos are important and interesting. 348 pages of history. It deserves a coffee table size format.
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Format: Hardcover
The Mona Lisa is, of course, one of the most famous paintings in the world. But how much do you really know about it? I've seen it in books, I've seen it on TV and I've seen it live (nearly alone right after museum opening and later in the day, packed in with the masses so I could experience their reactions). Despite all this previous exposure, Sassoon makes me see it fresh again and more acutely than ever before. Maybe it's because, with his guidance, I see it in historical perspective -- there are many fine photos (whole, detail and comparative, showing other works that preceded it). Or maybe it's because with just a few pages of text for each section, he educates my eye and makes it a better observer. Whatever his trick, it works very well. You could probably get something on the Mona Lisa that's cheaper, but certainly not better if you wish to experience it the way people did in the 1500s.
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Leonardo and the Mona Lisa Story: The History of a Painting Told in Pictures
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