Behold the secrets of Lisa del Giocondo.
We may say Ma’am,
The Brits may say My Lady,
The Italians would say Madonna.
Or they would shorten it to Mona in conversation.
But Mona Lisa is what we call her.
- Leonardo Da Vinci began painting her in 1503.
- Pyramid design formed by her head and arms.
- The arm of the chair forms a dividing line between Mona Lisa and the viewer.
- Her posture is reserved and angled away from us, with only her eyes focused on the observer. We are led to her face by the bright lighting upon it, framed by darker tones of her hair and shadows.
- There is a contrast between the invitation of her face and the reservation of her posture.
- She had no eyebrows or eyelashes as this was a fashion of the day.
- It was one of the first portraits to depict the subject in front of an imaginary background.
- The curves of the background valleys, rivers and paths are complemented by the curves of her hair and dress.
- Currently hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
- It is much smaller in real life than most people imagine (30×21”)
- It is painted with oils on poplar wood.
- Infrared cameras show that she originally wore a bonnet and was clenching the chair, but da Vinci changed it as an afterthought.
- 6 million people view the painting each year.
- It’s been thought that da Vinci painted himself as the subject, but notes were found naming Lisa del Giocondo as the sitter for the painting.
- Lisa del Giocondo was the 24 year old wife of a wealthy businessman from the Tuscany region.
- The painting was stolen by an employee of the Louvre in 1911, and recovered 2 years later.
- Pablo Picasso was questioned by the police regarding the theft.
- Because of its priceless nature, the painting cannot be insured.
- Her smile still captures the imaginations of most who see her.