Tuesday, 16 October 2018 Contact us

MARVELLOUS MONA

Professor Martin Kemp - Mona Lisa

You might easily be forgiven for assuming that the world’s most famous - and thus valuable - painting must at least be the size of a wall (or at least big enough to dominate a dining room). But you know what? It’s like a small flat screen TV set on its side (30 in x 21 in).
Astonishing then that something so… un-Sistine Chapel by comparison, is in fact the world’s greatest cultural icon (I once bought a poster of it and having hung it in my hallway, frankly found it something of a ‘downer’).
Still, while art is only ever subjective, what I do find fascinating is its myth and Professor Martin Kemp certainly proved the perfect guide to adding to - rather than peeling away - the appeal of its enduring glamour.
And boy is there plenty of that; indeed, Professor Kemp admitted he’s hounded by ‘Leonardo Loonies’ all the time, each boasting their own extraordinary theory. And if that weren’t intriguing in itself, he added that even from a purely academic stance, differences of opinion could almost descend into physical confrontation. “Who’d have thought,” he said “that renaissance documentation could ever become a contact sport?”
An orator who did quite simply what it said on the literary circuit tin, he was value for money and then some. And as for who the Mona Lisa really was… I’ve already phoned author Dan Brown.

Blenheim Palace HSBC In partnership with HSBC Desmond and Fiona Heyward Lady Hatch Jill Dunsmore Mary and Cecil Quillen Italian Cultural Institute Owen Mumford Schools programme partner HM Government of Gibraltar Sponsor of festival green room Gibunco Group Hedges Law Lawyers to the festival Seabourn Luxury Cruises Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller European Commission Schools and colleges programme The Oxford Times Regional media partner Bear Ram Elk Digital Strategy and Web Design Eynsham Hall Floris of London Oxford Cultural Collective Macdonald Bear Hotel Festival hotel Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Lord’s Taverners Festival sports charity partner The Feathers Hotel The King’s Arms The Sloane Club Literary Review Liaison Financial Services OX magazine K T Bruce Photography Save the Children Bookshop Experience Oxfordshire Wake up to Woodstock

Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature Film & Music 2018 partners & sponsors

Blenheim Palace HSBC In partnership with HSBC Desmond and Fiona Heyward Lady Hatch Jill Dunsmore Mary and Cecil Quillen Italian Cultural Institute Owen Mumford Schools programme partner HM Government of Gibraltar Sponsor of festival green room Gibunco Group Hedges Law Lawyers to the festival Seabourn Luxury Cruises Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller European Commission Schools and colleges programme The Oxford Times Regional media partner Bear Ram Elk Digital Strategy and Web Design Eynsham Hall Floris of London Oxford Cultural Collective Macdonald Bear Hotel Festival hotel Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Lord’s Taverners Festival sports charity partner The Feathers Hotel The King’s Arms The Sloane Club Literary Review Liaison Financial Services OX magazine K T Bruce Photography Save the Children Bookshop Experience Oxfordshire Wake up to Woodstock