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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

That Smile


David Allan Coe Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile
Mona Lisa lost her smile 
The painter's hands are trembling now 
And if she's out there running wild 
It's just because I taught her how 
The masterpiece that we had planned 
Is laying shattered on the ground 
Mona Lisa lost her smile 
And the painter's hands are trembling now 

And the eyes that used to burn for me 
Now they no longer look my way 
And the love that used to be 
Why, it just got lost in yesterday 
And if she seems cold to the touch 
Well there used to burn a flame 
I gave too little, took too much 
'Til I erased the painter's name 

Mona Lisa lost her smile 
The painter's hands are trembling now 
And if she's out there running wild 
It's just because I taught her how 
The masterpiece that we had planned 
Is laying shattered on the ground 
Mona Lisa lost her smile 
And the painter's hands are trembling now 



Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa

Mona lisa, mona lisa, men have named you
You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile
Is it only ’cause you’re lonely they have blamed you? 
For that mona lisa strangeness in your smile? 

Do you smile to tempt a lover, mona lisa? 
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart? 
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, mona lisa? 
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art? 

Do you smile to tempt a lover, mona lisa? 
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart? 
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Are you warm, are you real, mona lisa? 
Or just a cold and lonely lovely work of art? 

Mona lisa, mona lisa

-artist: nat king cole
-peak billboard position # 1 for 8 weeks in 1950
-words and music by jay livingston and ray evans
-academy award winner from the film captain carey, u.s.a starring alan ladd


It's been said that Napoleon would not sleep without this painting in the same room with him, even on campaign. It hangs in the Louvre, was shown in the movie Da Vinci Code. It has inspired poems, songs, documentaries, you name it. Most probably the most famous of all paintings. 
Recently scholars have found the lady Lisa's remains, recreated her face from her skull and low and behold it does match the painting. There had been speculation that it was a self portrait of Leonardo, or another woman.
The painting is most known for two curiosities. 1. No matter where you stand in relation to the painting the eyes are always looking at you. 2. The enigmatic smile.
When I googled the painting almost all the entries had something to say about the smile. My take, I hate to break it to all the poets and analysts. Just about any orthodontist can explain the smile being closed mouthed and lopsided -- she was missing teeth, mostly on one side of her mouth. A common problem in that time period.
Spoil sport part: why the eyes are always looking at you -- optical illusion, no eyebrows, without the eyebrows your sense of perception has nothing to fix the direction of the eyes. 

Still an amazing painting. I really liked the scene in the movie Forget Paris with Billy Crystal. When they're trying to look at the painting, there's such a large crowd in front of it they have to jump up and down to get a glimpse.

2 comments:

Michael Manning said...

P M: For three years I sang in a Jazz trio at a North Dallas Steak house and the fare was standards. I have never seen a stylist as nice as Nat "King" Cole and you brought back such vivid memories of a man by all accounts a humble and generous soul! Well done and Happy New Year!

P M Prescott said...

He was a true artist, it's a shame his only movie roll was in Cat Balou where he was stuck singing a stupid ditty that didn't display his talent very well.