As the book begins, a little girl asks: “Dad, will you tell me a story?” The story her painter father tells is a history of art with the Mona Lisa as its central character.
French artist Barsony here creates a charming, involving parent-child conversation around the iconic Leonardo da Vinci painting. Happily, he also succeeds in creating an unusually compelling personal response to the major Western movements of the last 150 years and their significant artists. He takes daughter and readers both on a journey of discovery through an imaginary museum, which is filled with a wide and amazingly diverse collection of paintings, but curiously, each painting is of only the Mona Lisa. These careful and astonishingly fresh paintings, rendered by Barsony himself, are so compelling because they are his own responses to and interpretations of Leonardo’s masterpiece as filtered through the vision of other artists and movements. In fact, each one of these “new” Mona Lisas (paired with an accessible and wonderfully informed text) masterfully reflects the techniques, subjects and sensibilities of major European and American art movements and artists, including such painters as Monet, Turner, Manet, Cézanne, Picasso, Dix, Kandinsky, Bacon, Pollock, De Kooning, Warhol, Haring, Basquiat, Richter and more.
Art lovers of all ages—grown-ups, students and children alike—will be engaged and captivated by this exciting and visually arresting entree into fine art. (Nonfiction. 10 & up)