Monalisa Painting: Know about Leonardo Da Vinci's Self Portrait

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 4, 2022, 6:41

The Italian renaissance has blessed humankind with huge cultural changes and the artworks of that time tell us a lot about the rich cultural history. One such prime example of a renaissance painting that has amazed the whole world since its existence is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Paris's Louvre museum has been home to this iconic painting since 1804. Ever wondered why the Mona Lisa painting is so famous? Why do millions of people from all over the world crowd over this place and wait for their turn to capture its photograph? This article will unveil facts and stories about the Mona Lisa

Who/What is Monalisa?

Mona Lisa by Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most well-known paintings in the history of art. It is renowned for its curious iconography as well as its unique history. Also known as 'Portrait of Lisa Gherardini,' 'Italian La Gioconda', or 'French La Joconde', this painting presents a half-body portrait of a woman seated in front of a distant landscape. 

There has been a debate regarding the identity of the Mona Lisa's model for centuries. Historians have brought forward numerous interpretations regarding this masterpiece. Some say that the sitter is Lisa del Giocondo, wife of merchant Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo, which explains the alternative name of the artwork, ‘La Gioconda.’ 

Another theory states that the sitter is none but Leonardo's mother, Caterina, while another suggests that Mona Lisa is Leonardo Da Vinci's self-portrait since research has spotted similarities between the model's and the artist's facial features. 

The Subject of the Mona Lisa

In the painting, the subject sits and gazes at the viewer and smiles with her arms folded. The smile that she has is halfhearted yet soft. What makes the smile so iconic is its ambiguous nature that confuses the viewers when they try to understand the model's mood and the artist's intention. 

The eyes of the subject are one more intriguing part of the composition because some people believe her eyes seemingly follow the viewer as they move – this is known as the 'Mona Lisa Effect'. However, according to research conducted by German researchers, the 'Mona Lisa Effect' does not take place. They claimed that the subject always looks at about 15 degrees to the viewer's right. Therefore, the subject does not make eye contact with the viewer; she looks at the viewer's ear. Whatever the case may be, Mona Lisa's ambiguous expression is the main reason why this painting has been successful since its existence and will continue to be so.

History of the MonaLisa Painting

Leonardo Da Vinci began to paint the Mona Lisa in around 1503, and it is assumed that he worked on it for several years and added more layers of oil glazes. Leonardo spent the last few years of his life in French king Francis I's court, and after his death, Mona Lisa became a part of the royal artwork collection. Mona Lisa was displayed in French palaces for centuries, and it finally ended up in Paris's Louvre Museum in the 19th century.

Needless to say, the Mona Lisa will always be that one painting that will continue to leave people asking questions. Leonardo da Vinci was a futuristic man, and Mona Lisa proves it as its innovativeness often makes viewers forget that it belongs to the 16th century.

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FAQs about Monalisa Painting

  • Why Does the Mona Lisa have no eyebrows?

According to engineer Pascal Cotte, when da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa for the first time, she did have eyebrows. However, they are no longer visible because the painting was cleaned repeatedly by restorers.

  • Where is the Mona Lisa Painting?

The Mona Lisa has stayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1804.

  • What is the Mona Lisa's worth? 

The Mona Lisa made it to the Guinness Book of World Record for being the highest known painting insurance valuation in 1962. The current price of the Mona Lisa is US$870 million.