If you want to discuss portraits that have been created in unusual mediums, no one can outdo Leonardo da Vinci’s 500+ year old Mona Lisa. We began this series by noting Phil Hansen’s amazing video of recreating her portrait in hamburger grease. Among the other artists featured in this series on unusual materials for portraits, Ken Knowlton has created her in seashells (at right), and CubeWorks, although known for its Rubik’s cube creations, “drew” her in crayon tips (at left), while David Griebeling went ahead with the Rubik’s Cube route.
We found his creation in an article that listed 10 unusual portrait substances for the Mona Lisa that included tofu, sausage, train tickets and 3,604 cups of coffee. (See below) Similarly, George Vlosich hasn’t created the Mona Lisa (as far as we’ve been able to determine) on his Etch-a-Sketch, but Jeff Gagliardi did on his. The article his sketch appears in is a review of the book, Mona Lisa Reimagined by Erik Maell. You will also find her created in buttons and beads there, and she has also been created in jelly beans and jewels.
And we haven’t even begun to indicate all the ways in which she has been parodied. Google “Mona Lisa parodies – images” and you will find her portrayed as:
- Muppet Miss Piggy
- Lucy from the Charles Schultz cartoon
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Johnny Depp in his pirate role
- Princess Leia (Star Wars)
- Homer Simpson
- A Minion
- The Sphinx
- The Statue of Liberty
- And so much more
And that doesn’t begin to cover other distortions. I once purchased a set of magnets that featured a portrait of the Mona Lisa with a series of add-ons that included a beanie hat, hair curlers, Groucho glasses, and more. (I checked, and it is apparently no longer available.) While I found it amusing on one level, I was always reluctant to attach the add-ons because it seemed like a desecration of an iconic painting.
- How do you feel about the Mona Lisa? Are the parodies and recreations fun and funny to you? Why or why not?
Next up in our Improv Artists Series: Paper.