Not Mona Lisa’s Cup of Tea


A woman was being held in Paris today after attacking the Mona Lisa with a cup of English breakfast tea. Okay. First of all what did Mona Lisa ever do to her and I don’t even want to analyze why she used English Breakfast Tea, my favorite. Sheesh!

I have to say that I’m a big fan of Mona Lisa. I was fortunate to see her hanging in The Louvre when I was in high school. I consider myself blessed for being able to see numerous art treasures when they weren’t under high security protective glass, as Miss Lisa was. In this case, no damage was done.

   Once it was just art thieves trying to score big money that was the concern, but in the last 50 years the whackos have posed an equal threat to art. Do you remember the sledge hammer attack on Michelagelo’s La Pieta?

   I don’t know about this case, but evidently there is a mental disorder called Stendhal Syndrome that verifies that art can make people crazy.  Really. It causes confusion, dizziness, panic, paranoia, and basic madness as a result of being exposed to too much artistic stimuli in too short a time. It’s kind of like what Rap music does to me. It even causes people to carry out theft and vandalism of art. However, I don’t know if it counts when it’s premeditated.     

   It reminds me of a recent theft of Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’. As I recall, the thieves stole it in broad daylight and threw it in the trunk of their car. Just visualize that, a painting of screaming face being thrown in the trunk. I’m sorry, it just makes me giggle. But I wonder if the thieves were victims of Stendahl Syndrome. Their choice of paintings was certanily crazy. It would make a great case in a court of law. Not guilty by reason of Stendahl Syndrome, even though there were black ski masks involved.

    But back to Miss Mona- I am such a big fan that I recreated the painting to wear when I teach about Renaissance art. I also wore it for Halloween a few years. It’s crude compared to Leonardo da Vinci’s standard. Mine is life size ( the original is much smaller than people expect) on corrugated cardboard and has holes cut out for my head and hands to poke through. I wear a long black dress and at this point in life don’t have much of my eyebrows left, so it works out. Thank God she blazed a trail on that fashion statement.

It has a gold painted cardboard frame, so I appear to be art on the wall until I move or speak. It’s really fun to watch people react (jump ot of their skin). Now, I can see that kind of art making someone crazy.

 Assignment- for a costume party or just for fun, find a famous portrait and recreate it on a large piece of corrugated cardboard. Use a grid to enlarge it. Make sure the face will be life size. You will need to cut an oval big enough to press your face into, so be sure the whole painting is scaled to that size. Paint it with acrylic paints. Once the basic painting is done, cut four strips of cardboard about 3-4 inches wide the length of the cardboard panel and frame it using glue. Paint the frame gold. It helps to set up some shoulder straps to hold it in place.  Have some fun, but don’t be surprised if someone throws English Breakfast Tea at you.

Speaking of which, I’m still wondering why the lady in the Louvre was allowed to walk around the museum with a hot cup of tea, looking for the Mad Hatter?



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7 responses to “Not Mona Lisa’s Cup of Tea

  1. My thoughts exactly…how did she get into the Louvre with a cup of tea…upon further research…she bought a mug at the gift shop. I am amazed at how people go after only the art icons (Mona Lisa, Pieta, the Scream) and not more scandalous or political artworks. I guess because the people attacking art aren’t artists or even educated at all in art…they go for the art they have seen on a calendar. Which makes me think that they arent overwhelmed by seeing too much art – as the syndrome suggests- they are just disturbed and violent.

  2. Nice painting costume! Fantastic!!

  3. I think the costume idea is GREAT!!! and yes, it is indeed interesting what art will lead people to do!! 🙂

  4. Elizabeth Campbell

    Hello–I started googling images this morning to try to help me decide what to wear to a summer equinox party this afternoon, and somehow I got to your blog–the wonders of the internet. Anyway, I wish that I had time enough to come up with a “Miss Mona”-like costume based on “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
    I really enjoyed reading your entries. I have been a writing professor for many years, and my avocation is visual arts, so your discussions of
    Cheerios, Popeye’s place settings, rainstorms on the roof and creative friends all struck chords with me.
    The photos of the tablescapes were great fun–and if the milkweed seeds get into the tea, just say they are trying to reproduce to feed the Monarch butterflies, which were quite well represented there. What fun!

    • cherylkling

      Thanks for your comments Elizabeth,
      The party theme for ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ sounds like a fun challenge for “attire”. I would have to go back and reread it for the appropriate characters, but considering the party is on the official day for change of season, I’d have gone with Ariel and a fairy theme. Just a simple top with an airy skirt and some wings (premade or from old sheer curtains) and glittered them up. Face and body glitter would be fun too. A fairy wand is always a great conversation starter. I’d be interested in hearing what you decided. Now I know I have to go back and reread it.
      I love that writing and visual arts provide creative outlets. What type of writing do you teach? Creative, journalism, poetry…?

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