August 21, 2017

Tfw when you steal the Mona Lisa and hang on to it for two years


Writing about the morning of August 21, 1911—106 years ago today—author Darian Leader observes, “No one raised an eyebrow when Vincenzo Peruggia turned up at work two hours late. How were they to know, after all, that this quiet, discreet house painter had just stolen one of the world’s most famous works of art?”

Peruggia, just twenty-nine at the time, kept the Mona Lisa in his Paris apartment for more than two years, before bringing it with him to Italy, where it was quickly discovered. Here’s a TV special that explores the crime in some depth, including historical recreations in full period costume (yes!) and a score that screams, “Please clap.”

It’s a good day to check out Mike Lankford’s Becoming Leonardo, a unique, invigorating, and unorthodox look at the artist who made the Mona Lisa—perhaps the most photographed, copied, and imitated painting in history—that picks up where the received wisdom on Leonardo’s life drops off, casting a critical eye on history, and bringing a fresh interpretive sensibility to the Renaissance master’s art. Read a sample right here.



Becoming Leonardo is on sale now. Buy your copy here, or at your neighborhood independent bookstore.