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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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About the Author

Donald Sassoon is a professor of history at Queen Mary, University of London. He is the highly acclaimed author of One Hundred Years of Socialism and Contemporary Italy: Economy, Society, Politics Since 1945, and is a frequent contributor to major British and European publications. He lives in London.
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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: #2,269,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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 Verified Purchase
One of my favorite books. The painting has had such a life: Leonardo de Vinci always keep the painting with him and so did Napoleon. It was even stolen at one time. I love the smaller size of the book. So many art books are large and I find I don't read them because of that I'm glad I was able to find it on Amazon since my local book stores did not have it.
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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
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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