All posts tagged Mona Lisa

  • A Long Way from Mona Lisa’s Smile


    A Long Way from Mona Lisa’s Smile
    by Brian Zahnd

    Yesterday Edvard Munch’s modern masterpiece, The Scream, sold at Sotheby’s auction house in New York for a record $120 million, making it the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction. To which I say three things:

    1. I like Edvard Munch. I saw an exhibit of his paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009.

    2. $120 million is a lot of money for a painting.

    3. We’re a long way from Mona Lisa’s smile.

    What do I mean by that? Well, if Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa with her enigmatic smile is the iconic image of the Renaissance, then Munch’s Scream may be the leading contender for the iconic image of modern man. And this is worth pondering. How has a mysterious smile been replaced by a horrified scream? What has happened to us? What is it about Munch’s disturbing masterpiece that speaks to us so deeply? Read more