Photo: Galerie de tableaux en très haute définition via Wikimedia Commons(PD-1923)

Rendered similarly khổng lồ Renaissance portrayals of the Virgin Mary, the piece features a female figure—believed by most khổng lồ be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of cloth & silk merchant Francesco Giocondo—from the waist up. She is shown seated in a loggia, or a room with at least one open side.

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Behind her is a hazy & seemingly isolated landscape imagined by the artist & painted usingsfumato, a technique resulting in forms “without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane.”


“Mona Lisa” detail

The figure sits with her arms folded as she gazes at the viewer and appears khổng lồ softly smile—an aesthetic attribute that has proven particularly eye-catching over centuries. The halfhearted or even ambiguous nature of this smile makes the iconic painting all the more enigmatic, prompting viewers to try lớn understand both the mood of its muse và the intention of its artist.


“Mona Lisa” detail

Her gaze is another bewitching part of the composition. Many believe that her eyes follow you across the room, making her an active participant when being viewed, rather than remaining an object khổng lồ look upon. But while her eyes may seemingly follow you, according khổng lồ German researchers, this “Mona Lisa effect” actually does not occur in the painting. In fact, they claim that the woman is always look about 15 degrees to your right, so more likely at your ear than your eyes. Whatever the case—perceived or real—her ambiguous expression is one of the strongest reasons for the Mona Lisa‘s enduring success.

In addition to lớn its mysterious appearance, her expression has resonated most strongly with art historians for its possible symbolism, as many believe it khổng lồ be a clever “visual representation of the idea of happiness suggested by the word ‘gioconda" in Italian.”

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?


Photo: The Telegraph via Wikimedia Commons

After Leonardo"s death in 1519, the Mona Lisa remained in France, where the artist had spent the remainder of his days. There, it stayed in the possession of the royal family for centuries, until it was finally put on permanent display in the Louvre in 1797.

At the beginning of the 2oth century, the Mona Lisa was still relatively unknown outside of the art world. Then, in 1911, a heist put the painting in the spotlight. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia—an Italian native—stole the portrait from the museum with the intention of returning it lớn Italy, where he believed it belonged.

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Newspaper detailing that the ‘Mona Lisa" had been found two years after its disappearance. (Photo: Le Petit Parisien via Wikimedia Commons, PD-1923)

After keeping the painting hidden in his apartment for two years he presented it to the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and it was exhibited in the museum for two weeks. Eventually, the Mona Lisa was returned lớn the Louvre, and Peruggia had to lớn serve six months in prison.

This incident thrust the previously looked-over painting into the limelight, inspiring people to appreciate it as an example of High Renaissance portraiture. Since then, the Mona Lisa has survived vandalism, like thrown rocks và red paint, which have only added lớn the lore of this masterpiece.

The Mona Lisa Today


Photo: Stock Photos from Resul Muslu/Shutterstock

Due to lớn its tumultuous past & contemporary fame, today, the Mona Lisa is exhibited behind a layer of bulletproof glass. Even in such a unique và controversial display, the painting remains one of the most popular pieces in the Louvre and, unsurprisingly, one of the most viewed và visited paintings in the world.

In fact, for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo"s death in Paris, the Louvre is hosting a blockbuster exhibition that will use virtual reality to lớn bring visitors closer lớn theMona Lisa. Using cutting-edge technology, art lovers can go behind the bulletproof glass and examine the hidden details of the painting. For those who can"t make the trip to Paris, partner điện thoại htc is allowing access via multiple virtual reality platforms.

This article has been edited and updated.

Related Articles:

Dissecting Leonardo domain authority Vinci’s Famous ‘The Last Supper’ Painting

The Significance of Leonardo da Vinci’s Famous “Vitruvian Man” Drawing

The Meaning Behind Michelangelo’s Iconic ‘David’ Statue

View Leonardo domain authority Vinci’s Notebooks Online và Go Inside the Mind of a Genius

What If People from Famous Paintings Were Modern-Day Instagrammers Taking Selfies


Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born và raised in San Francisco và holds a ba in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by đài truyền hình bbc World News America & France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband và two tiny daughters.
Read all posts from Kelly Richman-Abdou

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