The Mona Lisa is the best painting in the world. And a great improvement on the earlier pornographic version. It was done by the best painter in the world (Leonardo da Vinci) and the title was written by the best writer in the world (William Shakespeare). And it has been seen by the best people in the world. Including The Great British Public and Albert Einstein. When I do this at weddings I get a huge cheer for the former and a lone cheer for the latter from some weird guy who loves Einstein.
Leonardo da Vinci invented the helicopter and to do that you need the internal combustion engine and you can’t really have a helicopter without lights and nowadays the internet. He foresaw the lot.
Unfortunately, despite all that, he was a bit of a dick. He was always playing pranks on the various young artists who respected and admired him. I remember one wet Sunday afternoon, a young boy by the name of MICHELANGELO! DI LUDOVICO! BUONARROTI! SIMONI! (that’s MICHELANGELO!!! (the artist!)) came in to ask how to paint cats.1 Michelangelo, aged only five years, and young for his age, told Leonardo what a huge fan he was and asked if he might have an autograph? Leonardo told him to ‘fuck off you little shit’. Then he pulled his pants down, smacked his bottom and sent him home to his ‘mummy’.
Figure 1 A somewhat cheeky and amusing subversion of The Mona Lisa. Taken from www.freaking news.com.
No. By far the most lasting impact of Leonardo has been on the ‘prank postcard’. Since 1883, when a precocious young novelties seller first added a pipe to the sublime image, the field has seen numerous revelatory juxtapositions such as a mohican, a joint, and even, a bong. You yourself can try adding a bong to masterpieces. It’s irreverent and fun so give it a go. Bong.
1 The question ‘How to paint cats?’ is here distinct from the question ‘Why paint cats?’. See www.whypaintcats.com for more information.