The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait painting by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. The mysterious woman with a puzzling smile is one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for having the highest ever insurance value.
Who was Mona Lisa?
The model for this iconic painting was Lisa Gherardini who was pushed into the wedding with the wealthy Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo. She was born on 15 June 1479 in Florence, Italy. After being ill she died at the age of 63 at the convent of Sant’Orsola, where she was taken by her daughter Ludovica, after the death of Francesco in the plague of 1538. The painting of her is thought to have been commissioned for their new home, and to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea.
Why is Mona Lisa so famous?
Mona Lisa is indeed a great painting, the shape, tone, size, direction, texture and other elements of art totally mesmerises the eye, also Leonardo perfected the technique called sfumato, which means ‘evaporated or vanished’, in his famed gem. It is an oil painting, on a poplar wood panel and is painted sometime between 1503 and 1519. Now it hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris and is considered priceless.
The special Art Elements of Mona Lisa
It has imperceptible transitions between light and shade.
In between colours, he blended everything “without borders’’, in the manner of smoke.
The painting is created with layers of transparent colours giving it a magical quality.
She doesn’t appear painted, but truly of flesh and blood.
The pit of her throat seems like pulses are beating.
The background looks like a woman’s own dream world and the art is a departure from the tradition of the sixteenth century.
Leonardo’s knowledge of human anatomy strikes realism to the painting.
The life of the painter- Leonardo da Vinci
“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”~Leonardo da Vinci ….
Leonardo da Vinci,(Italian: “Leonardo from Vinci”) born on 15 April 1452 in Italy, was a painter, draftsman, architect, sculpture and engineer. Verrocchio was his teacher, and he went to him in 1467 when he was fifteen. Giorgio Vasari, in the biographies, claims that Verrocchio recognised Leonardo’s superiority as a draughtsman, and abandoned painting because of it. He began the painting of the Mona Lisa in 1503, and it was found in his studio when he died in 1519. He likely worked on it for several years adding multiple years of thin oil glazes at different times. In 1962 Leonardo’s Mona Lisa had an insurance value of $100 million. In 2020, Mona Lisa will cost more than $800 million after adjusting for inflation.
His works include-
Mona Lisa (c. 1503-19)
Last Supper (c. 1495-98)
Price- $450 Million
Vitruvian Man (c. 1490)
Price- £860 Million
Self Portrait (c. 1490/1515-16)
This piece of art was created by him when he was aged around sixty, using only red chalk.
The Virgin of the Rocks (c. 1483-86)
Head of a Woman (1500-10)
It is also known as La Scapigliata, is an oil on wood painting.
Lady with an Ermine (c. 1489-91)
Price- $330 Million
Salvator Mundi (c. 1500)
Price- $450.3 Million [Highest price ever achieved for any artwork at an auction]
Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1474/78)
Price- $350 Million
Quotes of Leonardo da Vinci
The great painter Leonardo da Vinci was sent to shake the world with his scientific knowledge and wizardry art, and he exactly did that, his works and knowledge were centuries ahead of his time. Here are some great musings by him-
“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
“Art is never finished only abandoned.’’
Facts about Mona Lisa
- The Mona Lisa painting is 30 inches tall.
- Mona Lisa was not her real name, it was Lisa Gherardini.
- Napoleon once had Mona Lisa hanging in his bedroom, and later he crushed hard on Teresa Guadagni, who was actually a descendent of Lisa Gherardini.
- The Painting is essentially priceless.
- Mona Lisa hangs in Louvre’s Grand Gallery.
- Mona Lisa was once stolen.
- She has stolen the hearts of many men, men die for her.
- She receives fan mail.
- According to French heritage law, Mona Lisa can’t be sold or bought, she is truly priceless.
- Not everyone is her fan, she has been attacked.
By Adya Mishra, Mumbai