- Hardcover: 274 pages
- Publisher: White House Historical Association (2018)
- ISBN-10: 1931917841
- ISBN-13: 978-1931917841
- Package Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mona Lisa in Camelot: How Jacqueline Kennedy and da Vinci’s Masterpiece Charmed and Captivated a Nation Hardcover – 2018
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This book tells the fascinating true story of the world’s most famous painting—and the cultural ambassador who helped bring her to America. In December 1962, “Mona Mania” swept the country as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa set sail from Paris to New York for what many knew would be the riskiest art exhibition ever mounted. The driving force behind the famous painting’s high-profile visit was First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who convinced French Cultural Minister André Malraux and National Gallery Director John Walker to share the masterpiece with the American people. The White House Historical Association presents an enhanced and expanded publication of Mona Lisa in Camelot with archives drawn from the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association, writes, “Margaret Leslie Davis’s captivating account of the loan of the Mona Lisa by France is of special interest to the White House Historical Association because the circumstances that brought the masterpiece to the United States are the same circumstances that gave birth to the White House Historical Association. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was determined to share the greatest painting in the world with the American people, and just as determined to make the White House a “living museum” accessible to the nation...”
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I have to wonder if America will ever again allow an aesthete and a Francophile such as Jacqueline Kennedy to be our First Lady. In an era where the media scolds coarseness with one hand and rewards it with publicity with the other, where true beauty is lost in the shuffle, where politicians see arts programs as a economic drain and not the soul of a society, is there room for a Mona Lisa?
After the exhibit, President Kennedy spoke these words at Amherst College: "I look forward to an America which will reward achievements in the arts as we reward achievements in business or statecraft....I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well." We came so close in the Camelot years, but have forgotten this wisdom since then. But it is not too late for an American Renaissance.
Kudos to the author for bringing this part of "Camelot" to its historical importance.
We live in a country where some politicians seem almost aggressively non-intellectual. Where to call something "French" is an insult. It was lovely to travel back in time to where our elected officials inspired us to aspire, to love our own history (as with the restoration of The Kennedy White House) and to appreciate what's beautiful about foreign lands.
It was also great fun to learn about all the preparations that went into getting the Mona Lisa here. Mme Hours of the Louvre and Mr. Walker of the National Gallery both thought the portrait was too fragile for the trip and were both burdened by their governments with keeping it safe. I also enjoyed discovering Ed Folliard. The hardnosed White House journalist got the assignment to travel over with the painting and the imaginative, romantic reports he filed about his "relationship" with Lisa were unexpectedly adorable.
Margaret Leslie Davis has very skillfully woven the details of the Mona Lisa exhibition into a vivid and rich account of the First Lady, her life and interactions preceding, during and following the display of the priceless work of art.
The documents included in this marvellous book are very telling and gave me a glimpse of the inner workings of Jacqueline Kennedy's brilliant mind.
The incredible amount of manoeuvring, urging and timely-choreography required of those involved in this process was truly impressive.
It amazes me, even though I am a definite art enthusiast, just how much this particular painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, has affected the people of America, France and many other places across the globe.
This is a very detailed read, certainly not a book that you can rush through; it had a gentle pace which worked wonderfully.
This true story touches briefly on the assignation of John F. Kennedy (JFK) and how it too, stirred the emotions of countless peoples around the world.
If you appreciate art and have any interest in the Kennedy's, this book is an absolute must-have!
(9 out of 10 Diamonds) - Loved it!
© 2008-2009 Bobbie Crawford-McCoy (Book Reviews By Bobbie).
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