The Mona Lisa Does Not Work That Way
The Mona Lisa is rarely portrayed in popular media the way it actually looks.
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(permanent link) added: 2011-12-02 10:43:26 sponsor: Flah (last reply: 2014-04-18 12:16:23)

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Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. It's one of the most discussed pieces of art in the world. Its subtleties are great mysteries have confounded art historians for centuries. And it doesn't look the way that you think it does. It was painted on a wood panel. However, in the popular media, it is often shown as being much larger than it actually is and painted on canvas. It is shown being displayed on a wall, surrounded by other paintings. However, because of its fame and fragility, it is kept in its own secure room, behind bullet-proof glass, inside of an environmentally controlled chamber.

This would be a sub-trope of Did Not Do The Research, seeing as it is available for viewing in the Louvre and there is more than enough documentation over the centuries saying what it was painted on. And yet, the misconceptions linger.

As a side-note, even I have to admit that this may be a bit too specific, and perhaps should be expanded into a general art-related trope beneath Did Not Do The Research.

Select examples include (in no particular order):

Ever After: This one is particularly bad because it actually shows da Vinci pulling the Mona Lisa out of a tube and unrolling it so that onlookers can admire it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: A collector of ancient rarities in one episode displays an unusually large Mona Lisa in his treasure trove in one episode. Then again, it might be that the collector himself Did Not Do The Research and wound up buying a fake from somebody.

Brian Greene's recent documentary series The Fabric of the Cosmos has the Mona Lisa appear in one of his segments as something far larger than it actually is.

There are many more examples, and I was even thinking of them right before I started writing this. Now I am drawing a blank. If you feel like expanding this or are inspired to create your own entry with this as the germ of the idea, you are more than free to do so.
replies: 33

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