Q. Which famous artist was suspected of the 1911 theft of The Mona Lisa? (read on for the answer)

Photo by  Juan Di Nella

Photo by Juan Di Nella

The Mona Lisa, also known as La Gioconda or La Joconde, is an early 16th century work by Leonardo da Vinci. It is on permanent display in The Louvre museum in Paris. It is an oil painting on poplar wood, and 30 x 20 inches in size.

Due to a documented margin note found in 2005, we know that the model is called Lisa Gherardini, from an Italian farming family.

She has no visible eyebrows nor eyelashes, but the latter may have disappeared due to over-cleaning. The landscape behind her is imaginary. It is an early example of sfumato, where light and shade are blended together to give a smoky appearance rather than using hard lines.

In 1911, it was stolen, with Pablo Picasso among the suspects. People still queued up to look at the blank space where it used to hang. It was found two years later in the possession of Vincenzo Perugia, an Italian-born Louvre employee who was trying to repatriate the painting.

Over the years, attackers have hurled acid, red paint, a rock and a teacup at it. It is currently behind bulletproof glass to deter vandals.

In 1919, Marcel Duchamp created the parody ‘L.H.O.O.Q’., which roughly means ‘she has a hot ass’ in French when the letters are said aloud. It is a postcard of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goatee beard added in pencil. A version by Salvador Dali replaces the model’s face with his

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