Max Herman’s work

Max Herman is a writer and artist with degrees in English literature and information technology, based in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, USA, where he was born and raised and attended public schools.  He has created a variety of on and off-line works in multiple media and genres. 

The Mindful Mona Lisa   

The Mindful Mona Lisa project centers on the blog of the same name by Max Herman, hosted by the MIT Press’ Leonardo journal at since May of
2020.  It discusses a very wide range of topics, including the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainability, literary theory, art history, networks, the history of science, and their various philosophical and cultural interconnections, all through the lens of a novel hypothesis regarding the art and writing of Leonardo. 

This is the “bridge-garment-experience hypothesis,” strongly influenced by Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium (or Lezioni Americane), and it proposes for the first time in published scholarship that La Gioconda may be an allegorical portrait of “Esperienza,” the Italian word for both experience and experiment, which Leonardo personified in his writings as “the common mother of all the sciences and arts,” “the interpreter between humans and nature,” and “the one true maestra,” pledging himself her “disciple” and vowing “as maestra, to acknowledge her, and in all cases cite her as evidence.” 

Explanatory essays for each blog post and other supporting materials are available from this link: (15 Mb, 797 pages).

Other works

Additional works by Mr. Herman currently available online are and Other past and recent works including Wrong Bienniale, Calzona Museum, and more, are available upon request to the author. 


Max Herman is one of the sponsors for the Jug Band Colline Metallifere 2024 Gran(i)Tour. You may see more articles about Max Herman’s works from