Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

First sentence:

"According to the song, it's not supposed to rain when it's April in Paris, but the day was wet and raw."


"In Paris at the start of a radically new century, the most famous face in the history of art stepped out of her frame and into a sensational mystery.

On August 21, 1911, the unfathomable happened -- Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa vanished from the Louvre. More than twenty-four hours passed before museum officials realized she was gone. The prime suspects were as shocking as the crime: Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, young provacateurs of a new art. As French detectives using the latest methods of criminology, including fingerprinting, tried to trace the thieves, a burgeoning international media hyped news of the heist.

No story captured the imagination of the world quite like this one. Thousands flocked to the Louvre to see the empty space where the painting had hung. They mourned as if Mona Lisa were a lost loved one, left flowers and notes, and set new attendance records. For more than two years, Mona Lisas's absence haunted the art world, provoking the question: Was she lost forever? A century later, questions still linger.

Part love story, part mystery, Vanished Smile reopens the case of the most audacious and perplexing art theft ever committed. R. A. Scotti's riveting, ingeniously  realized account is itself a masterly portrait of a world in transition. Combining her skills as a history and a novelist, Scotti turns the tantalizing clues into a story of the painting's transformation into the most familiar and lasting icon of all time." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about the theft and return of the Mona Lisa. I liked learning the history of the painting, how it got to France, and where it ended up during the time it was missing.

Date read: 6/23/2013
Book #: 15
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0307265803
ISBN-13: 9780307265807
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Year: 2009
# of pages: 227
LibraryThing page

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