Leonardo and the Mona Lisa Story
The most famous painting in the world is a funny little thing. The Mona Lisa hangs on - well, is bolted to - the wall at the Louvre; cut off from life by bullet-proof glass and constantly surrounded by gawping crowds. What do you know about her?
Leonardo painted her. She was a commission he never handed over, instead carrying her around, a fragile sliver of wood, wrapped in velvet. Why?
There are more stories and myths about her than any other work of art in the world, probably more books too. So "post da Vinci Code" along comes Donald Sassoon, the "world's leading popular expert" on the Mona Lisa, with another.
It's a lavishly illustrated Mona Lisa 101: her place in history means 500 years of connections, tenuous or otherwise, with artists, artworks, events and historic movements and figures; from notorious theft to modish deconstruction (what's the difference?); it's all here at a bargain price.
Leonardo and the Mona Lisa Story - the history of a painting told in pictures, Donald Sassoon; Allen & Unwin, $39.95.