The Mona Lisa falls in the list of famous art works in the world due to its unique nature that makes it stand out. This painting is also known as La Gioconda in Italy and as La Joconde in France, this great piece of art is a creation of Leonardo da Vinci who was an Italian Renaissance artist from the town of Florence in Italy. According to Kemp the making of this piece begun in the year 1503 when merchant Francesco Del Giocondo made his request, of wanting a portrait of his wife, known to Leonardo da Vinci (Kemp). The name of the merchant’s wife was Lisa Gherardini and Leonardo completed her painting around the year 1507 (Kemp). Apparently, Leonardo did not sell the painting to its original owner after completing it many scholars argue that he may have done this due to his own personal reasons or to him the painting was not complete to his actual standards; it is in display nowadays at Paris in Louvre Museum. The painting made its way to France when the king of France who was King Francois bought it after the death of Leonardo.
The painting is on a canvas of poplar wood, the artist made it using oil paint and it measures seventy seven by fifty three centimeters. Ball adds that it is the many theories, mystery in her face, the smile and deeply engaging expressions on her face among others that make the painting unique (Ball 32). Leonardo begun work on this painting in 1503 and Lisa Gherardini ‘Mona Lisa’ would pose for many hours and in order to maintain her mysterious smile and be able to capture it in painting Leonardo would use musicians, humor and books to entertain her (Kemp). He did this up to the year 1504 and after that; he would use his memory to keep on working on the painting. It took him four years to complete the painting; Bélanger et al. assert that still after this he would occasionally continue modifying the painting as he moved around (Bélanger 109). It was after three years later around the years 1510 -1513 that he officially completed the Mona Lisa.
A description of the composition of the Mona Lisa is the woman’s half pose as she sits on a terrace however the terrace part was cut off for the painting to fit on a frame since the original piece was bigger. Mona Lisa’s eyes and lips give one not only a mysterious but also melancholic impression as Leonardo has brought them out in a unique artistic manner. Ball contributes by stating that her smile is also not easily evident it appears to be a smile that is indecisive and philosophic (Ball 32). The value of lighting of the painting is also great as her face is lit up and Leonardo defined the shadows of her futures well and many people appreciate this including Raphael who was Leonardo’s friend at the time. Aerial perspective is also evident and this was the first painting that Leonardo used this technique on and he was the first artist to use it, he symbolizes unity by painting the mountains with the water together with Lisa.
This painting is also of a calm and simple nature as the Mona Lisa seats in a posture that suggests she is a quiet and reserved woman. Her gaze captures the attention of many, Bélanger et al. supports this fact by stating that this gaze sends a message to the viewers it is as if she is silently communicating to them (Bélanger 113). Another outstanding feature of this painting is that she lacks both visible eyebrows and eyelashes since during those times women would pluck out facial hair they would consider such hair as more of a manly feature. Leonardo would move around with this painting and it was in the year 1516 that King Francois, who was the king of France, sent an invitation to him to the King’s palace. He spent his time here until his death and the painting did remain in France in Louvre museum.
In conclusion, the Mona Lisa is a monumental piece and a masterpiece of great value, which beholds a great mystery in it. Events such as thieves stealing it in 1911 imply that even thieves knew its value for it was after two years that France was able to trace it back from Italy (Kemp). The other events include the damaging of the Mona Lisa by acid and a tourist throwing a stone on it in the year 1956 all these signify that indeed it is a priceless piece capturing the attention of many (Kemp). It has recognition from not only the historians but also scholars such as Sigmund Freud Kemp adds that, he even wrote about this painting from one of his articles entitled ‘Art on the Couch. This signifies that this painting deserves the entire honor and appreciation it is has, as it is a worldwide wonder.
Ball, Philip. “Art: Under Mona Lisa’s smile.” Nature 546.7656 (2017): 32-32.
Bélanger, Jocelyn J., et al. “When Mona Lisa smiled and love was in the air: On the cognitive energetics of motivated judgments.” Social Cognition 33.2 (2015): 104-119
Kemp, Martin. Mona Lisa: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Painting. Oxford University Press, 2017.