Leonardo is only one-tenth of the law but possession is nine-tenths of the truth
What if a contact-high with a famous portrait is so visceral that the sitter follows you home and changes your life forever?
ART IMITATES LIFE: ‘SECOND LISA’ – a paranormal biographical trilogy, was inspired by the only mention of Leonardo da Vinci’s half-sister, Lisabetta Buti, in a census report, and the irony of an anonymous woman becoming the most famous face in the world.
LIFE DUPLICATES ART: I carried Lisabetta’s story around for ten years after studying art history at university, utterly frustrated by the frequent gaps in historical documents. There were too many cold trails of lost paintings, and speculative iconography only muddied the waters of truth. Even knowing which artist painted what was suspect. Who better to ask than the paintings themselves? Barring their silence, lucid dreaming, stargazing, mindfulness, and visualization are always sensible ways to time travel to the past. Surprise. That old adage of asking and receiving, delivers. Amazing stories emerged from my innocent questions. There’s a lot to be said for selective hearing and a vivid imagination.
What if paintings were compelled to speak or mind-read or hypnotize in order to impart a character’s thoughts as in ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’ that aged while the man remained young?
I premise that paintings on a wall see and hear everything. They are the cameras and tape recorders of their time. I love the concept of figures reaching out of their frames for help or inviting a viewer into their world to impart wisdom. Would you go if invited?
DEATH GOES ON: with time travel, even the most beleaguered paintings never die and longsuffering sculptures never lose their heads. I simply adjust the dials of my time machine to arrive precisely at the crossroads where art and history part ways. After that, it’s as elementary as Sherlock imparting one of his theories to Watson. But paintings can be part of a political game. The study of meaningful images and their careful placement within a picture plane are often covert clues of the artist’s subversive viewpoints, punishable by death.
I imagine paintings as doorways to a parallel world where I can eavesdrop and wander around, say the fifteenth-century Florence, as invisible as the majority of their female population. I suppose I should be careful what I wish for, but I’ve always wanted to step into certain narrative paintings to discover who the models were in real life, and why were they so grouped together? What ‘between the lines’ stories did they tell? Why did the artist choose them to be in his visual play?
I wrote ‘Second Lisa’ based on the classic premise to ‘be careful of what you wish for’ and the assumption that, in the spirit of truth, some wishing wells are more or less holding pens for chastening spells. Spells that deliver exacting literal interpretations during that hazy moment when a casual wish becomes a serious curse.
Try evading the ‘Mona Lisa’s gaze sometime. Have you ever noticed… she never lets you out of her sight? She is tenacious. She’s learned to be. On the five-hundredth-anniversary of her captivity, she has a window of opportunity for escape that lasts one full year.
When her champion arrives as a nine-year-old boy, Lisa has no intention of letting Jupiter Lyons out of her grasp. But then, the autistic child is delighted to lead her from the Louvre. They become instant allies, each needing a virtual press release to be recognized for who they fully are. But when they meet, there is only nine months left of Lisabetta’s window. Just enough time to gestate a new life.
‘MONA LISA’ IS MORE MYSTERIOUS THAN A SMILE … in her own words:
“Dear child, my life led me here to meet you precisely on this day. I have been waiting such a long time – five-hundred-years to have my say. It’s time. You must listen because… because ‘you’re the one.’ Please permit me to explain. If your name were to be irretrievably lost, cut apart from your time and permanently erased from the world, overshadowed by the lies of silence… were you ever truly here?” – Lisabetta
ART IMITATES LIFE… LIFE DUPLICATES ART… DEATH GOES ON
In ‘SECOND LISA’, ‘Mona Lisa’ has an opportunity to free herself from an ancient curse after her soul is captured in a portrait – an extraordinary trilogy of misadventure and reincarnation.
What portrait has given you chills, good or bad? What questions would you ask a painting? What figure in a painting would you invite home?
My favorite portraits are: The ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Vermeer; Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’; Botticelli’s ‘Adoration of the Magi’; and the self-portraits of Rembrandt and Albrecht Durer.
HAVE YOU EVER FALLEN IN LOVE WITH A FIGURE IN A PAINTING? … which segues nicely into my next post about paranormal romance and a woman who did.