Monday 4 March 2019

He Didn’t Recognise the Mona Lisa

He Didn’t Recognise the Mona Lisa

by Hannah Retallick


They knew they were in the right place. Crowds draw crowds, but the boy was a drawer not the drawn; notebook in one hand and a pencil in the other. A serious frown. Wondering.
The painting of a woman. Imprisoned by bullet-proof glass, half-mooned with a wooden barrier, and protected from the pilgrims by guards with our swinging identity badges. Heads, endless heads.
The boy turned.
The Wedding Feast at Cana rose above him, biblical in subject and scale. A chaos of colour. It covered most of the huge wall. Maybe the boy’s jaw dropped, maybe it didn’t, but he didn’t move for a good long while. Floods of celebration, guests basking in the water-turned-wine; musical instruments and animals and rising stone pillars. Christ was in the centre.
The boy turned back, smiling.
            Mum, look at this!
            Hang on, gotta get a good photo.
            His smile dimmed, forehead crinkling. She lifted up her camera, moving it from side to side until she found a gap between heads. They were all at it, always are. Zooming in.
            Drumming the pencil on his drawing book, the boy waited for his mother to see. A serious frown. He sat down on the floor, crossed his blue-jeaned legs, and began to sketch.

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