Was Mona Lisa a Chinese slave?

Updated 03 December 2014
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Was Mona Lisa a Chinese slave?

BEIJING: An Italian historian’s theory that Mona Lisa might be a Chinese slave and Leonardo da Vinci’s mother — making the 15th-century polymath half-Chinese — sent online commentators into a frenzy Wednesday.
Angelo Paratico, a Hong Kong-based historian and novelist from Italy, told the South China Morning Post: “On the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese.”
Chinese web users expressed astonishment and disbelief Wednesday, posting dozens of parodies of the painting, with faces from Chinese comedians to British actor Rowan Atkinson grafted over her delicate features.
Little is known about Caterina, the mother of the artist, writer, mathematician and inventor, and the identity of the sitter for the portrait hanging in Paris’ Louvre museum has long been a matter of debate.
Paratico, who is finishing a book entitled Leonardo da Vinci: a Chinese scholar lost in Renaissance Italy, cited Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud’s 1910 assumption that the painting was inspired by the artist’s mother. “One wealthy client of Leonardo’s father had a slave called Caterina. After 1452, Leonardo’s date of birth, she disappeared from the documents,” he told the paper.
The evidence for a Chinese connection appears to be slight, with Paratico saying he was sure “up to a point” that da Vinci’s mother was from the Orient. “To make her an oriental Chinese, we need to use a deductive method,” he added.
Many posters on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo were incredulous.
“I’m so sad that you thought I’m a foreigner!” wrote one, with an image of a frowning Mona Lisa holding two rolls of toilet paper and blowing her nose. “I’d rather be from wherever I am loved.”
Another user replaced her features with unlikely faces ranging from Chinese male comedian Zhao Benshan to British actor Rowan Atkinson, to a grimacing robot holding a Mona Lisa mask.
The topic had been viewed more than four million times and triggered 160,000 postings by midday Wednesday.
“I now understand why her smile looks so mysterious and concealed — it’s typically Chinese,” said another poster.


Ex-Hollywood executive Weinstein to surrender on sex assault charges

Updated 24 May 2018
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Ex-Hollywood executive Weinstein to surrender on sex assault charges

  • More than 70 women have accused the co-founder of the Miramax studio and The Weinstein Co. of sexual misconduct including rape.
  • The allegations have given rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment.

NEW YORK: Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to New York City police on charges of sexual misconduct on Friday, the New York Times reported, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials.
Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Weinstein, declined to comment on Thursday’s report.
More than 70 women have accused the co-founder of the Miramax studio and The Weinstein Co. of sexual misconduct including rape, allegations that gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment.
Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.