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Mona Lisa – a mystery of art history and at the same time probably the most famous work of art by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1919 Marcel Duchamp acquired a print of the famous painting in the Rue Rivoli in Paris and drew moustache and goatee on it. He also appended a title: L.H.O.O.Q. The letters pronounced in French sound like: “Elle a chaud au cul”/ “She has a hot bum“. This created a provocative contribution to the DADA – art movement in Paris.
The DADA movement began in 1916 at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Its aim was to question the stereotyped idea of the bourgeoisie at that time.
Reason and inspiration for his graphic work on the Mona Lisa was the 400th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death. Duchamp was annoyed by the exaggerated cult made out of Leonardo and the mystification of the woman depicted in this painting.
In Schwerin's Marcel Duchamp collection a version of L.H.O.O.Q. from 1965 can be seen. During Duchamp's lifetime he made sure that his work passed directly into the hand of few collectors and museums. With the purchase of the collection of Ronny van de Velde/ Antwerp, the Staatliches Museum Schwerin is among the few places where works by Marcel Duchamp are on display. The Duchamp collection, which with 90 pieces is unique in terms of its completeness, covers almost all of the phases and aspects of the artist who was one of the most decisive inspirers of art in the 20th century.