I’m not kidding! There she was standing next to the famous painting, about to recount her escapades in the year she was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. Who would have believed it, the last living relative of Mona Lisa – Natalia Guiccardini Strozzi. Actress, ballerina, marketing and export sales director of her family’s prestigious wine estate and Princess to boot!
Natalia is used to the limelight and her curriculum boasts 4 languages, tutored by Nureyev for many years, as well as being a choreographer and pianist. And her performance was about to begin in room 15, Leonardo’s room in the Uffizi gallery of Florence.
I have delighted in many productions’ by the Compagnia delle Seggiole, an itinerant theatre group who perform in museums, monasteries and the like, bringing back to life the characters that were so much a part of the building in its heyday. The extra twist that Natalia was a direct descendant (together with her sister Irina) of Mona Lisa took me by surprise. You may make comparisons but Natalia has more than an enigmatic smile, a truly warm welcoming one and an engaging twinkle that exudes fun and fantastic energy.
She transformed into the painting itself, describing her excitement at being outside of the gallery, travelling in the arms of her thief sounded more like being in the arms of her lover, being hidden in various dubious places brought a thrill to her voice…it was freedom after the dreariness of the gallery!
Who had been the culprits? None other than 3 Italians, one of whom had worked as a handyman in the Louvre. They had hoped to sell the painting but it was obviously to hot to hock and when eventually one tried 28 months later he was arrested and the precious Mona Lisa returned to the Louvre.
And would you believe, on my way to the Uffizi who should come round the corner but Leonardo da Vinci!?
And then when I was on my way home I almost tripped onto Mona Lisa by talented chalk artist, Matteo.
And just in case you were thinking of buying the beautiful villa in Chianti where Mona Lisa was born, I’m afraid your too late as it has been recently snapped up. By who? We’re not sure, maybe a South African diamond dealer, or a group of Chinese investors, but if you want to see what you missed out on….www.vignamaggio.it
Check my earlier post of 12 August, 2013 for “Will the real Mona Lisa please stand up!”