Parallels between “Thus spoke Mona Lisa” by Moikom Zeqo and the “Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown.
By Fatmir Minguli ( Albania)
There has been a great deal written recently in the European press about The Da Vinci Code, by American Author Dan Brown, both praise and harsh criticism. This novel is now a bestseller with over 60 million copies sold worldwide. Fortunately for us, this book was translated by Amik Kasoruho, in an excellent translation. The adventures of the characters in this novel center on the search for the Holy Grail.
But, in Italian magazine in a review of this novel, the question is askek:” what does Leonardo Da Vinci have to do with this book?” There are many answers, both positive and negative. Perhaps these contradictions make the book even more marketable. Leonardo Da Vinci is addressed seriously in Thus spoke Mona Lisa, by Dr. Moikom Zeqo. Published in 2000, three years before the Da Vinci Code , it was not a bestseller. The fate of most Albanian books depends on the possibility of their translations into foreign languages, and the other reasons, which our writers know well.
It’s true that Thus spoke Mona Lisa does not contain the twists and turns of a detective novel, nor does in contain the endless secrets of the Holy Grail. It is true however, that this book is an incorporation of the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci in the modern atmosphere of global ideas, not only for culture through the portrait of Mona Lisa, Moikom Zeqo diffuses surprising lore and hypotheses. It was the first time a non-Albanian subject was written about in Albanian literature, in connection with Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, the emblematic portrait of the Mona Lisa.
In the latest series of books, this book opens a new creative port. It is hard to understand and to write about, but it fulfills a typology of the artist and the masterpiece. This typology succeeds to erase the borders of absurd dualism, which is seen frequently in international literature. Penelope’s shroud, as Moikom calls this different style of writing, gives others hope and in general the technology of the different writing allows him to put the levels of the palimpsests and to realize the research within the book, under in a surprising way. When you read “Thus Spoke Mona Lisa” you feel that you are reading something precious, accompanied by a feeling of intense and anxious interest. In it someone may learn Leonardo Da Vinci’s difficult life was full of paradoxes. This lesson is given in the form of modern writing, combining all the world’s cultures. Within this artist, Moikom Zeqo has dredged the roots of globalization, becoming the only author in Albanian writing in this style. This style appears in the latest books published by Moikom.
Gathering and consulting his recent studies on Da Vinci’s works, Zeqo reaches almost a blasphemy, when he clearly explains that Mona Lisa’s portrait does not belong to Mona Lisa. According to the famous researcher on Da Vinci, Karlo Pedreti, the portrait belongs to a female called Izabela Gualandi, who may have been the secret lover of one of Florence’s rulers, Giulio Medici. Pedreti has written a lot about this discovery. But what I would like to stress is that Zeqo discusses the Da Vinci’s portrait according to a new scheme. Moikom Zeqo in some of the books uses palimpsests, which technologically allows him to build mosaics with data and ideas. These strange mosaics lead toward the restoration of a lost esthetic. It is this, the special research which Zeqo does, without having the need of an entry into detective stories or mystical legends. This is where he differs from Dan Brown. He fills the mosaics with valuable stones of a philosophical investigation, with Zarathustra’s dogma, with surrealist’s art, and finally with the tragedy of the big and solitary romantics. The research of Zeqo is mostly on the level of spirits and ideas. If above I mentioned anxiety during the reading of Moikom’s book, I meant spiritual anxiety not material.
In Mona Lisa, Moikom abserves the human being and his own spirit. According to a study by two American neurologists from The Research Institute on the Eye in San Francisco, Mona Lisa’s face contains 12 kinds of facial expressions. Thus, she gives the messages through all ages. Moikom deals with this in detail in all his conclusions about this portrait. Here it is a passage of “Thus Spoke Mona Lisa”: “Mona Lisa was Leonardo himself. A man/woman. Not simply in their bisexual, than in the man as an uncial unit of the renovation’s existence”. And surprisingly, this essence which is given in three lines by Moikom Zeqo, Dan Brown stretches throughout an entire novel. Furthermore, Da Vinci’s codes are Da Vinci himself.
In his novel Dan Brown calls the big picture of Da Vinci “The Last Dinner”. Zeqo in his novel calls it “Mystic”, which is closer to the real name “The Secret Dinner” which is verified some biographies on Leonardo Da Vinci, e.g. the biography of Da Vinci by A. Zhivelogov, Russian author.
Reading the two books which are under comparison, one may find similar things in them. For example, the activities of the Great Constantine related to Christianity and many other historical aspects.
If in “Da Vinci’s Code” novel, Leonardo is tangentially mentioned, Saint Grail is almost constantly in the book. Among many books on Saint Grail, the most interesting one was published recently by three journalists from BBC: Henry Linkoln, Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent.
Undoubtedly, to Zeqo the Saint Grail myth is not unknown. Zeqo is the first author, which mentions analytically Saint Grail in “The Song of the Songs” book, published in 2002. In this book he writes: “The history of Saint Grail is the saint cup, where Joseph of Arimathea gathered the blood of Christ’s sores. This cup peregrinated in Europe toward the British islands places. During the heroic time of Arthur king, his zodiakor’s heroes have been looking to find the Saint Grail. But they never could. Saint Grail dominated during the European medievalism as a second version of Christianity, an alternative more mythological, metaphorical, metonymical, rather than symbolical.”
Thus, Saint Grail existed as a kind of competition, or apposition, or amplification. In European territories, in the French reel, very often Saint Grail is identified with Maria Magdalena, who married and had children with Jesus Christ, and who survived after the crucifix. Furthermore, the heirs of this relationship are not mentioned in history, are the origin of the European royal families.
In the most unbelievable British panoramas, Saint Grail was a test toward the death, to understand the eternal substances of the other worlds. The cabalists and alchemists looked at Saint Grail as a projection of finding the philosophical stone.
As an irony of this destiny, recently at the Historic Museum in Tirana was brought a picture with dimensions of 140 x 95 cm, displaying the cup of Saint Grail, within which is Christ holding his hands up. The destiny’s irony is just in the fact that Moikom Zeqo created propaganda about this picture, which was located in Albania, in the Albania media. Time will prove more about this picture and Moikom Zeqo will find his connections supporting the culture of our nation. One of the connections might be in the closeness of the Adriatic sides. On the portal of Saint Nikolla cathedral in Bari, Italy, is a view of King Arthur, which sounds like a secret intimation. Also, there is data that the Sufi sect trusted the Saint Grail to Federich the second, who hid it in a secret room in Castel del Monte, near Andrias, Pulia. This data was given in the Italian magazine “Focus”, in September 2004, and perhaps will serve for finding the picture’s history, which may have been the cup of Saint Grail.
In essence, both books which I’m comparing have the same ideas within their structures. But, Dan Brown in a pragmatic way put his ideas in the detective novel form and made the book much more preferred, although within it also has a lot of science. While, “Thus Spoke Mona Lisa” remained alone, in a strange silence. It is also written in Albanian, in the language of a small country. If this book could be written in English, it could be compared very well with the cultures of different countries in the world. Dan Brown himself, if he could read it in English, would be able to find parts in its form himself. This however, sounds like an impossible dream.
Leonardo Da Vinci will be studied continually. The truth of this book overcomes the theories about small occults. He used common sense and to create his practical works, like engineers do, something about which Moikom Zeqo writes broadly in “Thus Spoke Mona Lisa” he uses the phenomena of globalization in his analysis of the work of Da Vinci.
Obviously, other authors will deal with the old globalization of Da Vinci. The case of finding of the picture of Grail’s cup in Himara, Albania, sounds like a strange event, which needs essentially a deep study by the Albanian researchers.
In any case, this comparison with the two above mentioned books has not the goal of descent or building of the balance for one or the other author. The general goal of this study is a kind of an appeal for actual Albanian culture. The solitary work of one writer is never enough, whoever he or she is. The Albanian culture is rising through many studies. But this rise should be accompanied by “a team spirit” with the building of writing of book stores, and with the elimination of writing of books by solitary writers, in order to prevent the fate of “Thus Spoke Mona Lisa” and other books that go without been noticed.
LITERARY MAGAZINE ATUNIS NR.3 – 4 , MAY 2016
A PUBLICATION OF POETICAL GALAXY “ ATUNIS”