The Art of a Con... (Art)
Stealing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton is a novel about a con artist who orchestrates one of the greatest art heists in the world, the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. While the bones of the story are built on facts, the meat is fleshed out with pure entertainment. Fact: The Mona Lisa painting was boldly stolen from the Louvre art museum in 1911. Fact: It was a former worker at the Louvre, an Italian named Vincenzo Peruggia, who accomplished the deed. Fact: Eduardo de Valfierno claimed to be the mastermind of the theft. Fact: There really was a devastating flood in Paris (though not exactly the same year as the book).
Fact: I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I think it’s one of those kinds of novels I would like to see on the big screen. I imagine that the settings in Buenos Aires then Paris in the early 1900s, the Mona Lisa and art museums, the dramatic action towards the end, and the lighthearted, upbeat pace of the book would translate nicely in theaters.
I think this is a great summer read. Whether you’re interested in art or not, the plot holds interest and moves along nicely. On the other hand, if the art world generally piques your interest, this book should be doubly attractive.
If you’re interested in art, you may also consider these novels: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland, I Am Madame X by Gioia Dilberto, The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan, The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor, and Frida by Barbara Mujica.
One more thing you may like is a free Android phone appcalled Muzei. My son found this app and installed it for me, and I love it. Every day, my phone wallpaper changes to display a different famous painting, noting the artist and year it was painted.
This book met a couple of my 2015 Book Challenges: Read a book set in a foreign country; read a book about art.
What did you think of this book? Post a comment or email: Readinginthegarden@gmail.com