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Lesson Plans

Re: Where have you seen the Mona Lisa

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
J. Pease (jpease)
Fri, 5 Apr 1996 09:16:46 -0800

>I am developing a lesson/lecture on appropriation in advertising, by other
>artists and other media using daVinci's Mona Lisa as the used and abused
>appropriatee. Please let me know of any specific visuals that I can
>research to use in my presentation. Do you know of someone who has already
>researched this idea using the Mona Lisa? (I am sure it has been done...)
>The visuals I am searching for are kitsch...Mona in braces on a
>Hallmark card....Mona eating spaghetti on a billboard for the Olive Garden
>Thanks! I will send my results to anyone interested...just leave your
>e-mail address.
>Patricia Carter

Dear Patricia: What a coincidence- I worked with a Middle School Teacher
here in Sacramento a couple of years ago who had used for years a lesson on
Mona Lisa in conjunction with her unit on the Renaissance. That first year
I gave background for da Vinci, and her students made "modern Monas". Last
summer I came across the Art Education in Action videos and found Tape 4
entitled Art History and Art Criticism. The first lesson on this tape was
Debra Barrett-Hayes teaching a lesson on Mona Lisa and contemporary
appropriations of her. The lesson is excellent and I highly recommend it to
you - the tape and the accompanying teacher's guide give you all you need
to do the lesson itself, in addition to your own collection of
appropriations. If you don't have a catalogue from the Getty Center, call

After seeing the tape, I adapted her lesson for Middle School and added my
own emphasis on interpretation of contemporary art. One book which I
happened to have in my own library helped a lot with my search for
appropriations, both commercial and fine art: "Mona Lisas", compiled by
Mary Rose Storey, Introduction by David Bourdon, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
1980, ISBN 0-8109-2194-4.

Now that I have written my lesson, I have found appropriations everywhere -
pull-out advertisements for ARTnew, newspaper ads for a variety of
businesses. Once you decide to start looking, the commercial appropriations
pop out one at a time - just keep looking in the newspapers, magazines, and
greeting cards. You should have your own collection in no time at all. She
is undoubtedly the most consistently appropriated - and she is the only
work of art that has fine art appropriations as well as commercial - and
that fact makes for a very valuable lesson. If I can be of any more help,
let me know.

Jill Pease
California Consortium for Visual Arts Education
Sacramento Institute