Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa five centuries ago (1503 – 1519). And today, it hangs behind a highly protective bulletproof glass inside the Louvre Museum. It is regarded as the most famous painting in the world, drawing thousands of admirers from all corners of the world every day. It has its room and receives mails from fans all over the globe. It is a simple portrait of an ordinary woman dressed in a modest veil, dark robes, and without jewelry.
One of the most amazing features of the painting is its simplicity and the details that went into creating it. Ordinarily, painters use lines to create a form, but in this particular one, Leonardo uses light and shadow, a technique that one could have mastered better the Leonardo. He stands a legend in the world of art for his enthusiasm and ability to expound on ideas. There are many paintings by Leonardo that were unfinished or finished by his apprentices showing Leonardo was a man of research. He had skills in different other subjects, including mathematics, physics, and architecture, which explains his need to try different ideas.
The Mona Lisa is aimed at presenting the simplicity of humanity. A closer look mesmerizes viewers, not only because of the style but the sitter's posture too. No one knows for sure who the sitter is, and this mystery makes it even more exciting. Her enigmatic look has brought out different theories, attempting to explain why the piece is overly famous, but there is just no explanation. Many agree that it is merely a result of chance circumstances and the inherent appeal of the painting that makes it popular. There is no doubt that it is a good painting, and even though it has faced many threats over the years, including violence, the art has retained a high reputation and respect. It was clear from the beginning, as Leonardo worked on it that it could be the most inspiring piece of work in the history of art.
The Mona Lisa is also called Portrait of Lisa Gherardhi, wife of Francesco del Giondo. Other names include Italian La Gioconda or French La Joconde. It was painted somewhere between 1503 and 1519. This is was the time when Leonardo had moved and lived in Florence. It is possible that he worked on the piece for several years. He started in 1503, but it was never discovered until his death in 1519 when it was found in his studio. He probably added multiple layers of think oil glazes during different times. There are small cracks called craquelure all over the piece, but they feel fine on the hands.
After the death of the artist, French King Francis I, claimed the work and it stayed in the palace as a royal collection. For the next many years, it remained a royal collection until it was declared as people's property during the French revolution. It hung in Napoleon’s bedroom for several years before finding its way into the Louvre Museum from the onset of the 19th century.
The figure of a woman dressed in the Florentine fashion of the period and seated in a mountainous landscape shows reveals the skillful use of the sfumato technique by the painter. This is the period that heavily changed modeling. The sitter’s enigmatic expression seems both alluring and aloof. This appearance has given the portrait its universal recognition. The smile of the sitter likens to the representation of Ginevra Benci by juniper branches in the photo of Washington. It is the same way ermine represents Cecilia Gallerani in the images of Krakow too. In it is a representation of happiness as suggested by the Italian translation “Gioconda.” Satisfaction is the central theme in the portrait, making the work ideal for all times. The middle, around the chest of the sitter, is warm colors, space where men tend to live. The winding road and a bridge are the space that creates a transition between the sitter and the background. It echoes the far distance space where a wild and empty space of rocks can be seen clearly in the distant. Leonardo used a lot of skills to draw his area at the level of the eyes in the painting.
Leonardo was the first painter to use an aerial perspective, as depicted the imaginary landscape behind the sitter. There seems to be an open loggia with dark pillars on each side of the object with vast icy mountains appearing far behind her. You can also see winding paths and a bridge that shows possible human existence. Leonardo used sfumato to create the luscious curves in the lady’s hair and cloth. The general photo showcases the calm characteristic of da Vinci’s way of working. There are clear blurred outlines, a graceful figure, several dramatic contrasts of light and dark; evidence of Leonardo’s composure. The faint smile on the face of the sitter reflects a bond between people and nature.
The renaissance period brought together all human activities. At this time, art, science, and the truth of life became interconnected. Leonardo used this as a pillar of his works in creating conquering universal values. He had the deep sensitivity of an artist, the wisdom of a scientist, and the skills of a poet, which made him a master.
Even though the painting is made of excellent quality, many scholars argue that it is not enough to make it a celebrity. Many other good paintings could easily be better. Perhaps it is the way it was perceived from the beginning. It started its journey with King Francis I, who placed it in his palace as part of the royal collection. After the French revolution, it became a public property in the Louvre. As the museum grew, it moved along with the recognition of the painting.
But what made it an even more subject of study was the mystery behind the sitter’s portrait. Some scholars concluded it was Lisa Gherardhi, the wife of Giaconda, but there is no conclusive evidence of this. Then the whole appearance of the sitter, with her smile and bold appearance, draws mysterious conclusions.
In the summer of 1911, the painting was stolen, sending the whole world into a sad mood. It was during this time that it captures the attention of the general public. The newspapers wrote this crime story and carried it worldwide. And when it was returned two years later, everyone was cheering. And today, the Mona Lisa receives fan mails, and she has her mailbox. For many years, the Mona Lisa has carried the real value of humanity and nature, and it shall be so for many more years to come.