Mona Lisa Mania

MONA POETICA Waxes Poetic on Why Da Vinci’s Masterpiece Brings Mona Lisa Mania


Southfield, MI -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/13/2007 --Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has been a muse for artists of all flavors from around the world. In honor of her 500th birthday, the painting is now being celebrated in the first ever anthology of Mona Lisa inspired poetry; Mona Poetica.

Mona Poetica’s editor Diane Shipley DeCillis, commented, “The Mona Lisa has traveled the world as an inspiration to people from all over the globe. When Mona Lisa toured Japan, visitors left flowers and poetry for her as if she were a religious icon. I was similarly inspired, and having been involved in the poetry community in Detroit for a long time, I collaborated with a fine poet and teacher, Mary Jo Firth Gillett to edit an anthology on the subject. Our request for submissions received hundreds of responses. It has been a few years in the making, but the book is now available, published by Mayapple Press.”

Poetica is a rich and varied anthology that contains work by poets including Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn, Grace Bauer, William Blake, Edward Hirsch, Natasha Saje and many others. The work is a collection of 80 poems divided into five categories: Pose, Escape and Landscape, Sfumato, Line and Perspective, and Chiaroscuro. Each category is named for a technique introduced or innovated by Da Vinci in the Mona Lisa.

POSE begins with reflections about the artist, Leonardo's boyhood and what it might have been to live with genius. It then quickly moves to imagine the frustrations and pleasures of his now famous model.

ESCAPE AND LANDSCAPE is a section of whimsy that explores the voice of Mona, alternately bored and excited. It also imagines where we might find her if she escaped the confines of the canvas.

SFUMATO, a "smoky" technique which imparts a quality of luminous "breathe-ability" to the painting, is a section in which the borders between Mona Lisa's world and the world of the flesh-and-blood viewer becomes blurred.

LINE AND PERSPECTIVE is a section that examines the relationship between Leonardo’s confinement to his artistic materials at hand, be it paper or canvas. Mona Lisa becomes the magic of line and perspective working to defy that very confinement.

In the final section, CHIARUSCURO, we look at the contradiction of light and shade, and how each is necessary to the definition of the other. And we wonder, as Mona Lisa enters the gaze of our modern world, how she manages to evoke a mysterious sense of timelessness, as if it were possible for the viewer to know something of this woman, her life, and her world.

“There are so many things that Leonardo da Vinci brought to the world when he painted the Mona Lisa, that its influence can be felt in a number of arenas. Using poetry we hope to share our own unique views on this magnificent enigmatic work,” DeCillis concluded.

Copies of Mona Poetica are available for purchase online at for $16.50.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Contact Shazaaam! at 248-366-0388 to request review copies.

Media Contact: Adrienne Lenhoff Wise - Shazaaam! – Office 248-366-0388, Cell 313-580-5349, email