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Lady with an Ermine (Mask)

Posted on Apr 11, 2013 | 0 comments



A few weeks ago I started getting quite a few people over on Instagram asking me who was responsible for the posters of Old Master works with medical masks going up all over town.  The truth is, I have no clue, but I finally got to photograph one in person this past weekend in Trastevere.  A riff on Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine, show both woman and animal with a protective mask.  I’ve also heard of versions with Vermeer’s Lady with a Pearl earring, which is apparently in Monti.  A close inspection of the signature printed in the upper lefthand corner didn’t help much, with the letters formed in a manner that make them difficult to read.  I was about to give up when my friend Claudio suggested that perhaps the letters formed the word “Smog,” which would make sense with the masks.  It would also make sense if you read these recent articles on the high levels of smog that are choking the city.  And so, who is the person (or people) behind the posters?  Anyone with clues are more than welcome to write in….

Update: A few days after the post went live, the RomaBolognaCooperazione joined Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram claiming responsibility for the project, which is, in fact against smog.


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