On this day in 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. It was taken by an Italian loyalist who felt that painting should be in Italy. But that didn’t stop the authorities from first arresting and incarcerating the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Regardless, the Mona Lisa is representative of everything that is wrong with the art field. Why is it such a great painting? Because everyone thinks so!
I’m not saying that it’s bad. And I loved it when I was a kid. Now, well, not so much. Certainly it is a great example of High Renaissance portraiture. But I find the background disturbing — and fake. I think people love it most because they don’t appreciate it. It’s just this painting of a woman with a smirk. And let’s be honest: there’s nothing mysterious about it; that’s all it is: a smirk. I know this because most pictures of me have the exact same expression. I hate posing for pictures and as a result, that’s the face I make.
There are things that I greatly admire by Leonardo da Vinci. But he was the Orson Welles of the High Renaissance — he didn’t finish much of anything. That’s why his sketches are often the most interesting of his work. And that’s why I can hardly think of a more boring thing to do than go to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa — especially when there are so many more interesting works in that very same museum.