Mona Lisa in Camelot,
How Jacqueline Kennedy and Da Vinci’s Masterpiece Charmed and Captivated a Nation
Written By: Margaret Leslie Davis
Published By: Da Capo Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group, Philadelphia, USA, 2008, First Edition, 272 pages, hardcover
“Mona Lisa in Camelot is the beautifully-written account of how the exquisite Mona Lisa painting and the graceful and charming First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, joined forces to unite two powerful nations.”
From the front book flap:
“In December 1962, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa set sail from Paris to New York for what many knew would be the riskiest art exhibition ever mounted. The fragile painting, sealed in a temperature-controlled, bulletproof box, travelled like a head of state accompanied by armed guards and constant surveillance.
The Driving force behind the famous painting’s high-profile visit was First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who convinced French Cultural Minister André Malraux and National Art Gallery Director John Walker to share the masterpiece with the American people. She overcame the fierce objections of Art officials who feared the journey would ruin the world’s most celebrated smile, and “Lisa Fever” soon swept the nation as nearly two million American’s attended exhibits in Washington, D.C. and New York City. It was the greatest outpouring of appreciating for a single work of art in American history. And as only Jacqueline Kennedy could do, she infused America’s first museum blockbuster show with a unique sense of pageantry that ignited a national love affair with the arts.
Gathering rare archival documents, acclaimed biographer Margaret Leslie Davis has woven a tantalizing sage filled with international intrigue and the irresistible charm of Camelot and its queen.”
Mona Lisa in Camelot, how Jacqueline Kennedy and Da Vinci’s Masterpiece Charmed and Captivated a Nation was such a lovely read. I felt such a sense of ceremony and culture, as though I was having tea with the First Lady herself.
Margaret Leslie Davis has very skillfully woven the details of the Mona Lisa exhibition into a vivid and rich account of the First Lady, her life and interactions preceding, during and following the display of the priceless work of art.
The documents included in this marvellous book are very telling and gave me a glimpse of the inner workings of Jacqueline Kennedy’s brilliant mind.
The incredible amount of manoeuvring, urging and timely-choreography required of those involved in this process was truly impressive.
It amazes me, even though I am a definite art enthusiast, just how much this particular painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, has affected the people of America, France and many other places across the globe.
This is a very detailed read, certainly not a book that you can rush through; it had a gentle pace which worked wonderfully.
This true story touches briefly on the assignation of John F. Kennedy (JFK) and how it too, stirred the emotions of countless peoples around the world.
If you appreciate art and have any interest in the Kennedy’s, this book is an absolute must-have!
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
A special thanks to Mini Book Expo for Bloggers for sending me a copy.
(Due to unseen difficulties at Mini Book Expo and the Publisher, this book’s review has unfortunately been delayed by 3 months.)
Copyright © Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy