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Art historian cleans Mona Lisa: Interactive iBook uncovers art's dirtiest secret
Cleaning Mona Lisa not only teaches the neglected lessons of art restoration, but the allows the reader to clean some of the most famous paintings from around the world with the swipe of a finger.

NEW YORK, NY.- Art historian and former Travel Channel Host Lee Sandstead partnered with Apple Design Award winning app studio, Tapity, to release an innovative reading experience on the iPad. Built on top of Apple’s new iBooks Author platform, Cleaning Mona Lisa interweaves videos and gorgeous interactive paintings with the narrative to take readers on a journey to discover why classical art work such as Mona Lisa is not nearly as impressive as it used to be and what can be done to restore it.

When art historian Lee Sandstead first saw the world’s most famous painting—Mona Lisa—he was…to put it very gently…underwhelmed. As he recalls: “I sat there looking at this very small and dark painting behind three inches of bullet-proof glass scratching my head in puzzlement. Where were her eyebrows? Why is she so yellow?”

It was this utter disappointment that took him on a decade-long search through museums across the world to uncover Mona Lisa’s true meaning. It was through this long search that he uncovered the art world’s dirtiest secret: Mona Lisa needs a bath.

“This might sound rather incredible,” says Sandstead, “but most classic paintings in a museum need some kind of conservation, such as replacing the varnish. And even more incredible, in all of my art history classes that I have ever taken, no professor had ever mentioned this very basic—yet crucial—fact.”

And that is where this iBook comes in handy. Cleaning Mona Lisa not only teaches the neglected lessons of art restoration, but the allows the reader to clean some of the most famous paintings from around the world with the swipe of a finger.

Asked if he’ll write another book, Sandstead replies: “The ability to create multi-media books that you can easily carry around with you on your iPhone or iPad is an unbelievable teaching resource, and I plan to spend a significant amount of time in this new media. Not only will I be offering exciting new content to Cleaning Mona Lisa, but I’ll also be creating new iBooks. For instance, this summer, I’ll be walking 1,100 miles through Europe along a medieval pilgrimage route to document ecclesiastical art and architecture; that’ll be a book. Then for Christmas 2012, I’ll be spending 30 back-to-back days in the Louvre—a month with Mona Lisa, if you will. That will also be an iBook.”

Jeremy Olson, Founder of Tapity, adds, “Apple gave us the tools to make unprecedented reading experiences on the iPad and gives us a platform to distribute them directly, eliminating the need for a big publisher.”

Why build an iBook instead of an app? Jeremy says: “Interactive books require a plethora of skills to get right but there is little coding involved, making the process far less expensive than building an app. It amazes me that most big publishers haven’t gotten on board the platform yet — this is the next generation of books.”

Cleaning Mona Lisa, by Lee Sandstead, is available through the Apple iBookstore for $2.99. For more information, please visit:

Today's News

May 29, 2012

Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova's "Still Life (Bluebells)" sells for $4,637,488 at Sotheby's

The Royal Academy celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with several displays

Christie's to present a selection of important works by two of the greatest British painters

Art historian cleans Mona Lisa: Interactive iBook uncovers art's dirtiest secret

Christie's announces an exhibition from the Collection of Sir Timothy Rice to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee

Jan David Winitz talks about the Art of Collecting Antique Oriental Carpets

Centuries after it disappeared from the Middle East, attempts to revive language spoken in Jesus' time

150 years after the last fusillade, scholars look at Civil War anew during anniversary

Christie's London Sale of Important Jewels comprises 368 lots, including royal and aristocratic jewels

Bonhams Hong Kong celebrates its 5th anniversary with quarter-billion Hong Kong dollar auction

First solo exhibition in Germany by the British artist Haroon Mirza opens at Schering Stiftung

Anticipation building for RM Auction's Dingman Collection 2012 Sale to be held in New Hampshire

From Morocco to Indonesia: Beirut Art Fair to showcase more than 40 international galleries

First retrospective in a German museum of photographer Lewis Baltz on view at Kunstmuseum Bonn

Marjorie Schiele Prize Award winner announced

Crowds gather for Golden Gate Bridge celebration

Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia showcases artist Kevin COle

Elvis Presley crypt up for auction this month

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2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

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