Mona lisa, the ultimate guide to the world's most recognizable portrait
Photo: Galerie de tableaux en très haute définition via Wikimedia Commons(PD-1923)
Rendered similarly to lớn Renaissance portrayals of the Virgin Mary, the piece features a female figure—believed by most lớn 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 xuất hiện side.
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Behind her is a hazy & seemingly isolated landscape imagined by the artist and 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 & appears to 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 lớn try to lớn understand both the mood of its muse & 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 to look upon. But while her eyes may seemingly follow you, according to lớn 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 khổng lồ its mysterious appearance, her expression has resonated most strongly with art historians for its possible symbolism, as many believe it lớn 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 khổng lồ 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 lớn the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, & it was exhibited in the museum for two weeks. Eventually, the Mona Lisa was returned to lớn the Louvre, and Peruggia had 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, lượt thích 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 và contemporary fame, today, the Mona Lisa is exhibited behind a layer of bulletproof glass. Even in such a unique & controversial display, the painting remains one of the most popular pieces in the Louvre and, unsurprisingly, one of the most viewed & 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 khổng lồ theMona Lisa. Using cutting-edge technology, art lovers can go behind the bulletproof glass & examine the hidden details of the painting. For those who can’t make the trip lớn Paris, partner điện thoại htc is allowing access via multiple virtual reality platforms.This article has been edited và updated.
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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 cha in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art và 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 bbc World News America & France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband và two tiny daughters.
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