EBOOK or KINDLE The Second Mrs Giaconda
That Ms Konigsburg won two Newbery Medals in her career The Second Mrs Giaconda was a great book If I had chosen it off the shelves at the library would not have had wanted to finish it but since I was forced to read it for a Literature Circle I really liked it and would recommend it too anyone interested in Leonardo da Vinci A book about Leonardo s assistant NOT a book about the Mona Lisa anyone who wrote that didn t actually read the book could be used in an art class This book suffers the same fate as movies with a misleading trailer Folks go to the movie theater expecting one thing and then leave dissatisfied and unhappy because they didn t get it Good movies have died at the box office for just this reason and I think this book falls into that category because of misleading dust jacketThis is the story of Leonardo s personal assistant Salai and the dynamics of his relationship with his employer from the first day when Salai tried to steal Leonardo s purse to the day Mona Lisa walks into their studio It is NOT NOT NOT about Mona Lisa Leonardo wrote about Salai a little in his notes is thought to have sketched him one the sketch is included and left him a house in his will all of this was in spite of the fact that he describes Salai as a thief and a scoundrel The author apparently wondered why and this story is the answer to her own uestion and incidentally it s about the Mona LisaThe book s cover and its title promise to answer the uestion of who was Mona Lisa and why did Leonardo painted her and it does but only in the last 3 pages so that when you re 34 s through you begin to wonder if it will ever happen By the final page Leonardo has not met her yet just Salai who nows that his master will want to paint her and why in other words
#everything up until that point is a set #up until that point is a set and as a result the book feels unresolved We get a mild sense of Leonardo and of the period a sense of the wars between France and the city states of Italy but mostly the book is about SalaiSo when handing this book to a student say this book is about Salai the personal assistant of Leonardo and you will learn a bit about Leonardo and about Italy Ignore the emphasis on Mona Lisa on the cover that s just the sales pitch to get you to buy the book One thing Konisgburg always does well is subtle depths Some of the other reviewers wanted characterization apparently they weren t willing to read between the lines Others wanted of the model Mona Lisa herself but that wasn t the point Others wanted history not remembering that not enough is nown to build a novel on and such is admitted in the prefaceAnyway thoughtful and poignant with some truly beautiful bits as is usual from this authorI love when Beatrice teaches Salai about art in the process of telling him why he is important to Leonardo A person looking at a work of art should not be slapped to attention he should be wooed And Leonardo needs a wild element All great art needs it something that leaps and flickers He is too self conscious When he has an important commission he ties up all his instincts Why did Leonardo da Vinci paint the portrait of the plain second wife of a a merchant the Mona Lisa The
Second Mrs Giocondafollows the story of Salai Leonardo s young servant through his friendship with another plain woman Mrs Giocondafollows the story of Salai Leonardo s young servant through his friendship with another plain woman Duchess Beatrice in order to attempt to answer this uestion The book is a uick read and uite interesting I recommend this book to middle grade age ids who are interested in or studying da Vinci This was a woman who Deans and Truants knew that she was not pretty and who had learned to live with thatnowledge This was a woman whose acceptance of herself had made her beautiful in a deep and hidden way A woman whose look told you that you were being sized up by a measuring rod in her head a measuring rod on which she alone had etched the You now it
S Tough When You Re Teaching A tough when you re teaching a grade IMG class and you read something that makes you start to tear up and you have to pretend you re not crying I loved this book I love Konigsburg in general but this i think is one the best and littliest nown works by this great author This tale is a wonderful story with woven strands of history about Da Vinci braided into a fictional but fascinating possible account of who the Mona Lisa really is Highly recommend En the genius his morally uestionable young apprentice and a young duchess whose plain features belie the sensitivity of her soul. A wonderful little book Italythe late 1400sI m impressed Konigsburg has given readers a brilliantly imagined narrative about a time a place a person and a painting I m left wondering why she didn t target adults instead of young readers The issues politics and personalities would mean to an older audienceWhile the Mona Lisa is used to build the story and neatly pull together the ending there are references to other paintings by daVinci notably The Last Supper and to a lesser extent Cecilia Gallerani lady with weasel Both of these paintings as well as others are reproduced at the end of this printing but the uality is exceptionally poor which is too bad I ll watch for a better editionA minor point but one I appreciate On pages 95 96 Konigsburg stresses responsibility and how it needs to be taken seriously in order to be a trustworthy adult This reflects my own beliefs and my frustration whenever I hear someone proclaiming that they have rights totally oblivious to the fact that along with rights we have responsibilitiesI don t Alien Contact know enough about da Vinci to comment on accuracyI guess I should pick up one of the several biographies of DaVinci that have been languishing on my shelves for far too long I wanted to like this children s book than I did because Konigsburg s From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler was one of my absolute favorites when I was aid one I reread multiple times and one I ve given as a gift many timesMy main issue with this book though it has a great premise is that there s not enough characterization or even plot It also needs atmosphere and place and less straight telling In From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler I felt like I was in the museum with the two children Even if I d read this book as a child I don t think I would ve felt like I was in Italy with the main characterHowever as a id I would ve been happy to see that the reproductions of the paintings mentioned in the book are included in the back That along with the tidbits about the
paintings in the novel itself would probably get a young reader in the novel itself would probably get a young reader even in da VinciA side note I don t now why the cover says Giaconda when it is clearly written Gioconda on the title page and in the text Some of EL Konigsburg s finest novels debuted in the 1970s Featuring witty assertive main characters and original plot ideas these books were a cut above most of their peers and The Second Mrs Giaconda may be Ms Konigsburg s most intriguing concept from that decade It takes us back to 1490s Milan Italy to explore perhaps the biggest mystery of the Renaissance why did Leonardo da Vinci paint the Mona Lisa arguably the greatest piece of art ever made The model for it was the plain looking wife of an ordinary Florentine merchant Important men across Europe clad for Leonardo to immortalize their wives on canvas yet he saved his utmost creative passion for a portrait that offered limited profitability and notoriety In this book we discover a possible answer as to why Gian Giacomo de Caprotti called Salai is a ten year old pickpocket when Leonardo accepts him as an apprentice Salai shows no artistic promise yet vaults to prominence among Leonardo s apprentices The master loves the boy s sense of mirth and irreverence his cleverness if not his artistic vision When Leonardo s patron Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza nown as Il Moro becomes entangled in a pledge to marry the second daughter of the Duke of Ferrara Salai meets this daughter and the two form a fast friendship Beatrice is not physically attractive like her elder sister Isabella but Isabella is promised to another noble so Il Moro has to settle for Beatrice Il Moro can t be bothered to tend to her with any regularity but Salai finds Beatrice to be an intelligent companion whose opinions on art and philosophy eual those of any renowned critic Leonardo a genius of
and scientific advancement turns Beatrice as a worthy partner for conversation and his esteem causes Il Moro to take a second look at his homely wife Perhaps she is a spouse to be proud of after all Salai revels in his own relationship with Beatrice but their time together dwindles as Il Moro grows to love his wife and treat her as a valued member of his household Salai now only interacts with her during brief conversat. Why did Leonardo da Vinci lavish three years on painting the second wife of an unimportant merchant when all the nobles of Europe. Ions on the street little than hasty exchanges of greeting In the meantime Salai secretly uses his association with Leonardo to earn extra income for his father and sister who live in poverty He occasionally swipes unfinished sketches by the master "And Sells Them To Artists Who Then " sells them to artists who then inferior versions of Leonardo originals The master scarcely notices if he does at all and Salai progresses to selling in person meetings with Leonardo a privilege that Italy s richest pay good money for Salai s family won t go hungry as long as he s capitalizing on Leonardo s reputation In those rare moments over the years when Salai is able to visit Beatrice he learns she hasn t lost her mischievous humor and nack for appraising art and her commentary on Leonardo s new pieces provide Salai a fresh take on his master s work Beatrice has had a decent life as Il Moro s wife but his original tepidness returns when another woman captures his fancy and Beatrice s declining years are not destined to be happy Salai cherishes her as does Leonardo but the master won t express his feelings in any way common to man He has a grander tribute in store for Beatrice seizing his opportunity to link her to his legacy as a demigod among artists Even Salai will agree the master has done justice to their friend The creative zeal and wide ranging erudition of the Renaissance coalesce in Beatrice whose mind is wondrous even as her face excites no suitor She is not ugly merely plain which may be worse for attracting a man of prestige to seek her hand in marriage Compared to Isabella s comeliness Beatrice is a severe downgrade but she is the one that any man of substance would wish to call his life partner She grasps the nuances of Leonardo s staggering genius as few can a fact made evident in her critiue of the horse sculpture he worked on for a decade as a commission for Emperor Maximilian of the Holy Roman Empire Salai is impressed by the twenty six foot high sculpture but Beatrice privately shares with him her disappointment Leonardo needs a wild element she says All great art needs it something that leaps and flickers Some artists can put that wild element into theArtistic And Scientific Advancement Turns
treatment itself but Leonardo cannot He is too self conscious When heitself but Leonardo cannot He is too self conscious When he an important commission from an important client on an important subject he ties up all his instincts He strives not to let himself go but to be perfect Beatrice points to the raw outline the master has started on his wall painting for a group of monks a work that will become The Last Supper Even in its roughest stage it contains an unencumbered passion that Maximilian s horse bears none of An artistic genius must let his instincts run free yet temper the wildness with discipline if the end result is to stand the test of time The admixture is one that not even Leonardo da Vinci always gets right but is present in every transcendent work of art When Salai shows Beatrice The Last Supper close to completion she recognizes its import No one who sees this will ever be free of Leonardo s vision From this time on every painter of the Last Supper will be a follower No onecan see this painting and be but different for having seen it When an artist like Leonardo creates a definitive masterpiece of its type the anxiety of influence bleeds down through the centuries coloring the perception of every artist so that even the best work of that type is subconsciously an attempt to recreate the original Lasting anxiety of influence is the ultimate measure of greatness and this is what Beatrice predicts for Leonardo and The Last Supper Most consumers of high art will never now who she was but Beatrice is inextricably entwined with Leonardo s excellence The Second Mrs Giaconda is a novel of depth and character one I can only imagine coming from EL Konigsburg The ending could have been emotionally resonant so I ll go with a two and a half star rating but I m rounding up to three Salai and Beatrice are fully realized characters brimming with the energy of life Leonardo is as distant and enigmatic as history says a strong depiction of one of the remarkable individuals in the human record There are EL Konigsburg novels I prefer to The Second Mrs Giaconda but if you want a taste of her uniue storytelling style this one is a good option It was no accident. Were begging for a portrait by his hand In E L Konigsburg's intriguing novel the answer lies with the complex relationship betwe. .