The Mona Lisa is indeed one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous masterpieces. This portrait painting is without a doubt one of the most popular and discussed works of art. Yet do you know these 10 but fascinating facts about this painting? Scroll down to learn more.
1. The Mona Lisa’s description
Lisa Gherardini, an Italian noblewoman and wife of cloth and silk dealer Francesco del Giocondo, is said to be shown in the Mona Lisa. It’s not on canvas, but on poplar wood.
Lisa appears to be an ordinary young woman. She’s dressed simply and softly in a home dress. She sits in a loggia at the front of a Tuscan landscape, either imagined or real.
2. The great mystery of Mona Lisa’s eyebrows and eyelashes!
There are no brows or eyelashes in the painting of Mona Lisa. Behind many years, the explanation for this has been questioned. Some people claim that Da Vinci never finished the painting, which is why the eyelashes and eyebrows are absent. Others believe that these were mistakenly eliminated during a repair.
3. Disappearance of Mona Lisa!
The Mona Lisa artwork vanished from the Louvre in 1911. Pablo Picasso was one of the culprits in the heist, and he was arrested and questioned about it.
Vincenzo Perugia was discovered to be the real thief in 1913. He kept it in his residence for two years while working at the Louvre. He thought that the artwork belonged to Italy and that it should be displayed in its proper location. When he attempted to sell the picture to a gallery in Florence, Italy, he was detained.
4. Mona Lisa is priceless!
Vinci’s creativity and wisdom have produced the Mona Lisa a valuable artwork that will never be sold since its priceless!
Every year, almost six million people see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. They glance at her for only 15 seconds on average. The Louvre in Paris boasts over 6000 other paintings, yet 90% of people come to see the Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa painting, according to French heritage legislation, belongs to the public and hence cannot be sold.
5. Why Mona Lisa is in France?
Salai, Leonardo Da Vinci’s assistant, received the artwork after his death. King Francois most likely purchased the painting from Salai, and the Mona Lisa became a French possession.
The King paid four thousand gold crowns for the artwork, which is equivalent to $9.7 million today! So, it arrived in France.
6. What is the story behind the Mona Lisa’s fame?
Well, the Mona Lisa’s renown was not always of miraculous proportions. The picture only became famous when it was stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian handyman who worked at the Louvre.
Peruggia sought to return the Mona Lisa to its real home in Italy. In the night of August 20-21, 1911, he removed the Mona Lisa off the wall. With his expertise of the Louvre, he exited the institution silently, concealing the picture beneath his overcoat.
The heist made news all across the globe. The picture was grafted onto the collective mind of the entire planet. For a time, even Picasso was a suspect. After interrogation, he was freed.
7. Monna Lisa was the original name of the Mona Lisa.
Due to a spelling error, it is now known as Mona Lisa; the name remains Mona Lisa. “Madonna” is the meaning of the name Monna, which translates to “My Lady.”
8. The mystery of the Mona Lisa’s smile
The model’s peculiar, enigmatic smile stands out the most in the painting, making it a one-of-a-kind portrait.
When we look at Mona Lisa’s eyes, our less precise peripheral vision picks up shadows from the cheekbones and detects the lips. The shadows dance with the eye, hinting at a smile’s curve. When we stare directly at the lips, though, our center vision misses the shadows, and the smile vanishes. Mona’s smile appears to fade in and out as our gaze moves around the photo.
Was it da Vinci’s intention to create the illusion of a flickering smile? Perhaps. In any event, he was gifted with the ability to create shadows that dazzled onlookers for half a millennium.
Did you know?
In 1852, an artist called Luc Maspero, who was enamored with the smile and allure of the ‘Mona Lisa,’ committed himself by jumping from the fourth floor of a Parisian hotel, leaving a suicide note revealing his undying love and years of waiting for her.
9. Attacks on Mona Lisa!
Not everyone writes the Mona Lisa fan mail letters. She’s been assaulted on multiple occasions.
A thief threw acid at the artwork in 1956. Another threw a rock at Mona Lisa’s left elbow, chipping a pigment. There’s a tiny bit of damage visible.
Someone splashed spray paint in 1974. A crazy lady threw a coffee cup at the picture in 2009. These last two efforts were prevented by the glass.
10. The love of Napolean for Mona Lisa!
The Mona Lisa picture was a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte. He addressed her as Madame Lisa and referred to her as the Oriental Sphinx.
For four years, Napolean kept the ‘Mona Lisa’ in his bedroom at the Tuileries Palace, and it was his obsession with the picture that led him to fall in love with Teresa Guadagni, a descendant of Lisa Gherardini.