MFA Boston Apologizes for Not Having a Mona Lisa

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, home to not a single Mona Lisa. Photo: Courtesy MFA Boston, via Facebook.

In a June 9 article on the satirical news website The Onion, fictional museum-goer Tom Bellarico complains about the glaring absence of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA Boston), apparently oblivious to the fact that the painting belongs to the Louvre—and that the only other known version belongs to the Museo del Prado. “This is only the most famous painting in history, for crying out loud,” Bellarico, a made-up tourist, complains. “How does this place even call itself a museum?”

Rather than respond with outrage of its own, or, even more boringly, a neutral statement, the MFA Boston riposted playfully, tweeting: “@TheOnion finally calls us out. We would like to formally apologize for not having a Mona Lisa.”

And then, recognizing an opportunity to plug the institution’s forthcoming Da Vinci exhibition, tentatively titled “Visiting Masterpieces: Leonardo da Vinci: Bella e Brutto, The Idea of Beauty” and scheduled to run April 15–June 30, 2015, the MFA Boston added: “@TheOnion readers, we hear your concerns. As a gesture of good will we will install a da Vinci exhibit next year.”

News of the forthcoming Da Vinci exhibition seems unlikely to console the fictional visitor Bellarico, however, who added: “Look, when I go to a museum I want to see that soup can painting, the sculpture of the thinking guy, and the Mona Lisa. Not a bunch of freaking quilts. What a scam.”

Quilts and Color,” the exhibition to which Bellarico was presumably referring, is on view at the MFA Boston through July 27.

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