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Commentary
January 2008

More Than a Pretty Face: The Mona Lisa

Author Affiliations

Correspondence: Dr Thomas, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1855 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612-7244 (thomasrj@uic.edu).

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2008;10(1):65-66. doi:10.1001/archfaci.10.1.65

Correspondence: Dr Thomas, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1855 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612-7244 (thomasrj@uic.edu).

The Portrait of Mona Lisa is often described as an example of the timeless facial beauty and is arguably the most famous and readily recognized painting in history. It is owned by the French government and is hung in the Louvre Museum. It may also be the most frequently reproduced, and perhaps parodied, painting in the world as well. Throughout the years, the image has appeared in multiple forms, including clothing, advertising, cups, and calendars. It was even notably parodied by the well-known Dada period artist Marcel Duchamp. His 1919 version, which shows the Mona Lisa with a mustache irreverently inscribed with the letters LHOOQ, which, when read phonetically in French, can be translated as "she has a hot ass" (Elle a chaud au cul). Recently, the original received notable attention when it appeared on the cover for Dan Brown's popular novel The Da Vinci Code. Although the painting is mentioned in the book, it does not play an overtly significant role in the novel and presumably was used on the cover as a highly recognized marketing device.

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