The Mona Lisa or La Joconde (in French) is one of the most famous paintings in the world today, even those who may not know a lot about art will know of the Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa is a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa Giocondo, also known as Lisa Gherardini. It was painted by the famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci in Florence, Italy and is believed it was started around 1503/1504 but it cannot be confirmed. There is also no real proof as to how long it took Da Vinci to complete it, with some literature saying almost 13 years, it is hard to tell for sure. The Mona Lisa is an oil painting that was painted onto an untreated piece of poplar wood, due to Da Vinci using oil paints the painting has been able to last over six centuries!
THEORIES AROUND THE MYSTERY
There are many theories surrounding the painting that seem to allow the Mona Lisa to constantly be shrouded by mystery which only makes it more and more intriguing to the viewer, leaving a lot of space for personal interpretation without ever being particularly sure. The composition and details of the painting are quite ambiguous, giving a gloomy impression whilst simultaneously being quite tranquil, this is evident in the colors and technique used, the somber tones used to create an image, it seems, almost out of a haze. Lisa herself is seen to be beautifully porcelain in contrast to the darker colors that surround her, whilst having a veil over her face. Again rousing more questions, was she in mourning? And if so why?
The Mona Lisa is most famous for her ambiguous smile that has left people very puzzled over the centuries. Some believe she is happy or content whilst others believe it is a sad smile burdened in some way, it is extremely interesting as it invokes different emotions and thoughts from the people who view it. An aspect you could call the beauty of Art. The mysterious piece has been made reference to in many different forms over the years such as in novels, songs, films and even art. It is the most visited piece of art in the world, with many people adding it to their bucket list.
The Mona Lisa was bought off of Da Vinci's apprentice after his passing in 1519 by Francis the 1st who placed the piece in the Palace of Fontainebleau where it stayed for many years before it was relocated by Louis the 14th to the Palace of Versailles. It was only after the French Revolution that the Mona Lisa was placed in the Louvre. This was only in 1804. Thankfully, in the preservation of the painting, the piece of art was relocated to numerous different museums during the Franco-Prussian and First World War, otherwise, the Mona Lisa might have been a thing of the past. Today it still stands in the Louvre, behind bullet proof glass for everyone to admire.