Mona Lisa is an oil painting by an Italian artist named Leonardo da Vinci who was an engineer, inventor and a writer. Mona Lisa is considered to be the greatest portrait of all time. The painting is 30 by 21 inches in the colour sombre. The painting was done somewhere between 1503 and 1519 when Leonardo was living in Florence.
He started the painting when it was 1503 and it was in his studio where he died in 1519. The subject of the portrait is not that significant, so is it really about just her mystifying gaze and a quirky smile or more?
The figure sits with her arms folded while gazing at the viewers with a soft smile, proven eye-catching for centuries. The portrait might seem very ordinary today, but it was revolutionary in the early 16th century. The portraits before this used to be stiff and only consisted of profiles.
Most of the portraits during that time were full length, whilst Da Vinci did a new style of half-length in his portrait. Mona Lisa’s painting introduced a new style of painting, which still stands as iconic over 500 years later. The portrait has a pyramidal composition, which is DaVinci’s innovation. The white base of the painting appears heavier than the top.
Mona Lisa’s hands form the front corner of the pyramid and your eyes are drawn to the top of the painting where the top of the pyramid forms. The background of the picture is made in such a way that it portrays a sense of harmony between the sitter and the landscape, which was a completely new technique during that time, which added a sense of realism that was in common during that time.
The fact that the background becomes hazier and hazier the more you go distant from it added a sense of realism to it, even more. Scientist couldn’t figure out how Lisa’s smile was interpreted by different people so differently. Theories ran from the nature of human vision to Sigmund Freud’s interpretation of the smile, signifying Leonardo’s erotic attraction to his mother.
The specialty of a smile in the portrait makes it even more fascinating. Now let’s look into some real-life events. Mona Lisa was a Florentine woman, born and raised in Florence under the name Lisa Gherardini. She was the wife of noble Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo.
During Vinci’s 3rd stay in Florence, he lived in a house which was next to Palazzo Gondi, just a few meters away from Piazza Della Signoria which belonged to the Gherardini family.
The portrait was stolen in 1911 by a Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia. He was an Italian patriot who thought the painting should be returned to Italy for display. He kept the portrait by himself for 2 long years before he was caught while selling it to a gallery in Florence.
The painting was attacked several times, so it suffered some damages. Thanks to new technology, the Mona Lisa is now protected by bulletproof glass in a climate. The painting snow worth $850 million. Gained by kind Francis I of France, it is now the permanent property of France. Millions of tourists come to see this portrait every year