DIY Mona Lisa, Sort Of...
There is only one Mona Lisa, though she has grown to be an icon of all of art. How many novelty neckties, mouse pads, and Terry Gilliam cartoons feature the enigmatic lady? In modern times, some credit Andy Warhol for popularizing the image of the Mona Lisa in his art, raising the work to icon status much like Elvis or Marilyn Monroe. The painting is even a main plot point in one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, "City of Death".
Certainly there are so many bits of knock-off Mona merch, that anyone can partake of her contemplative and knowing gaze. In this photo you can see that someone went even further. Not content with the mere image of Mona Lisa, this artist sought to re-create the work as a real painting. A reasonable copy (certainly well beyond my skills as an artist) took shape, but take a closer look at the face. It's another woman! Call the Louvre! Break out your daVinci Code decoder rings!
I'm pretty sure that there is no sinister sub-plot of forgery happening here. Perhaps a talented amateur created this homage to the Mona Lisa, replacing the visage with someone close at hand. Or is this an example of a smart painter-for-hire who can plug any face onto what is perhaps the most recognized piece of art in the world? A kit maybe?
In any case I call the painting "The Mona Kowalski" (Don't you agree that she looks like a Mona?). This is definitely one of my favorite thrift store paintings I've ever found. It'll be tough to beat, unless somewhere out there I find a painting of two large sad-eyed children dressed as harlequins slaughtering Ziggy. Look, I'm only saying what everyone else is thinking.