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Bensonhurst man cracks the da Vinci code!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Look, the Mona Lisa’s great, but Leonardo da Vinci got her all wrong.

That’s at least what Melchiorre Martino claims. The 79-year-old Bensonhurst retiree says that he’s improved on da Vinci’s so-called masterpiece because he has one thing that the Renaissance legend lacked: electricity.

“See all these blacks and dark colors in da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa?’ ” Martino asked. “It’s because he worked in the dark. If he did it my way, with electric lights in his studio, he would have had more color.”

So Martino spent three weeks with all his lights on and all the oil paints he could find. The result is a far more vivid print, albeit one without any of the background detail over which da Vinci apparently sweated — not that Martino is impressed.

“I don’t need all that [background] stuff,” he said, grinning. “Where was she standing when [da Vinci] painted it? We don’t know — but we do know that he finished part of the painting in one place, and the rest in Paris, so the background doesn’t matter.”

A smudged brown and black backdrop in Martino’s painting attests to that.

But some New York art world snobs beg to differ. Carol Krinsky, professor of art history at New York University, said the backdrop is just as important as the woman sitting in it.

“Martino has worked hard and produced a reasonable likeness of the [Mona Lisa],” Krinsky told The Brooklyn Paper. “but the background is all wrong — much too prominent, much too dark, and not in the right scale. It matters.”

She also noted that Martino made the copy of the “current” Mona Lisa painting, which is covered with so much varnish at this point that many of its original colors can “no longer be seen.”

Martino remains unfazed.

The “Martino Lisa” is just the latest instant classic churned out of the painter’s Bay Parkway aerie. He started his craft only 15 years ago — inspired by one of his 12 kids, who has cerebral palsy — with a panting of brontosauruses munching on greenery.

Next he moved to a remake of Pablo Picasso’s “The Dreamer,” and then on to more of his own work, which lines the walls of his small apartment.

He admits that on his first go at the brunette with the famously indifferent gaze, Martino wanted to match da Vinci’s light-free environment. But he wasn’t pleased with his first try.

Now, however, Martino said his new and improved canvas has already garnered attention from buyers — one of whom offered $15,000. But he doesn’t know if he wants to sell it. The goal is just to have people see it.

“This is a treat for the people,” Martino said. “I don’t have much time left, and this is what I love to do, so why not?”

Then he grinned and added, “My mom never knew I could paint. Look at me now!”

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Chad from Park Slope says:
It's about time that someone copied this painting. It's been too long without anyone copying it. And most newspapers wouldn't even report on this significant event! Almost as if they didn't think it was news! And in electronic form it doesn't even generate print that could be lining bird cages all over the burough.
Stop the presses - man with no taste spends time "improving" world's greatest work of art! We all must hear about this!
March 29, 2010, 7:14 am
j says:
Wow chad, i think you missed the point this was an achievement by an senior, who has a hobby for painting..its very sweet..your sarcasm comes across quite rude and mean..lighten up.
March 29, 2010, 2:31 pm
Jaimie from Brooklyn Heights says:
This man and his painting totally suck. I mean really, just junk.
But he is a fox, maybe some more pics of him would be more interesting. He's hotter than a fresh bowl of hot pasta.
March 29, 2010, 5:10 pm
K. from Not yours says:
That's why the Brooklyn paper reports that he makes Pantings, not Paintings. We don't need no steenking proofreaders!
March 30, 2010, 4:02 pm
Anthony from Bensonhurst says:
What a great job!!!! The hell with all of the haters. The rest of you **** heads couldnt even do this well with painting with numbers.. Awesome!!!! Chad and Jamie are looooooooosers!!!!!
March 30, 2010, 10:59 pm

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