Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vanished Smile - Scotti Does It Again...

I picked this book up expecting it to be a bit dry - but - once again R.A. Scotti pulled me into the story as if it were fictionalized.

Very few people who visit the Louvre realize that the Mona Lisa was stolen at one time - people used to come to view the empty space - they were in such disbelief that anyone could commit such a crime!

Vanished Smile is the story of that theft and the involvement of the creative luminaries of that era in the crime!

Although this is a non-fiction accounting of the "crime of the century" I have to admit it is as riveting as a well crafted thriller.

Scotti has the ability to weave facts with her keen observances of the times. Her depictions of the guard at the Louvre, the poet Appollinaire, the painter Picasso and Paris in 1911 are nothing short of brilliant.

In reading through the complete and detailed bibliography I can see that that her use of the newspapers of the day would give a special tone and insight that studying books can not. BRAVO SCOTTI!!!

Book Description from Amazon
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 provocateurs 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 Lisa’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 historian 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.

R.A. Scotti on Vanished Smile
Mona Lisa is the most famous face in the world, yet few among the thousands who flock to the Louvre to see her every day know that she was ever stolen. Who pinched Mona Lisa--and why?

The most surprising facts in the case:

1. 98 years ago, Mona Lisa vanished from the wall of the Louvre Museum.

2. No one noticed for more that 24 hours.

3. Pablo Picasso was a prime suspect in the theft.

4. Her mysterious disappearance made Mona Lisa the most famous wanted woman in the world.

4. Mona Lisa remained missing for more than 2 years and was presumed lost forever.

5. A letter signed “Leonardo” led police to the lost painting.

6. Almost 100 years later, the brazen crime remains unsolved. --R.A. Scotti

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