The Venus Effect” is a fascinating concept in painting and film that shatters the illusion of the perceived, the perceiver and the preceptor.  In the example below, the woman is peering into a mirror.

At first glance, we think she is looking at her own reflection, but the angle of the mirror deceives us, because she is really directly looking at us, not herself.  In fact, the artifice of assumption is something of an aesthetic cheat because we fail to realize she is watching us while we watch her.  She is incapable of viewing her own reflection in that particular angle of yaw.

On October 26, 2007 in our WordPunk blog, I wrote an article — Is Stealing Ever Good? — advocating the theft of inspiration as a qualified original intent:

Some call stealing inspiration, but if you see or experience something and then change or employ those experiences in your life — you have effectively borrowed and stolen the thoughts of others and I wholly encourage that effort.

I am not condoning plagiarism, but I am supporting the opportunity to consider and use ideas that are not your own because there are no original thoughts left in the world.

Over the weekend, I read a fascinating article in the New York Times indicating that the world-famous “copy” of the Mona Lisa was probably actually sanctioned by the great Leonardo da Vinci himself:

by Steve Gaines

the morning my Grandfather died
he was painting picnic tables
making his way slowly down a long line of them
aluminum colored and pealing in the sun
badly wearing their too many years

he was bringing them back to a shining new life
and he was quietly dying on his way
one foot in front of the next
one breath on top of the last
slower and slower