Friday, December 16, 2005

Smile a Little Smile for Me

For as long as I can remember, people have been talking and writing about Mona Lisa's smile.

The painting has been the subject of endless speculation and analysis for eons. There's even a movie called Mona Lisa Smile. Art lovers talk about it with a kind of reverence usually reserved for something holy. "The viewer cannot help but look at that cryptic smile and wonder what she is thinking...what secret is she hiding?"

From The New York Times: "First she is smiling. Then the smile fades. A moment later the smile returns only to disappear again. What is with this lady's face? How did the great painter capture such a mysterious expression and why haven't other artists copied it?"

And for as long as I have been reading this kind of thing, I have been staring at that painting, baffled by what everybody else can see that I can't -- like the occasional person who is confounded by the hidden pictures in those "3-D" illustrations that were popular several years ago, and is convinced the whole enigma surrounding the lady's smirk is some kind of elaborate prank.

That's how I view the Mona Lisa -- like some kind of Emperor's clothes scenario, a smile you can only view as mysterious if you're cool. "Oh, sure, I see it. Wow. How puzzling! How ambiguous! What's she thinking?"

Well, I'll tell you what she's thinking.

Hurry the fuck up and finish painting. My ass is killing me!

Isn't that what you'd be thinking?

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