The Mona Lisa remains probably the most well known painting ever to have been created, and sits proudly amongst the many great achievements of Leonardo Da Vinci, which stretched beyond just art. This article brings together useful information on the Mona Lisa and offers an insight into the painting in a concise readable manner.
The Mona Lisa was a 16th century oil painting portrait by Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance. The subject of the painting was Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, and it is now owned by the French Government, and stored at the Louvre in Paris. Lisa del Giocondo was a member of the Florentine Gherardini family and also wife to silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. The birth of their son, Andrea, plus their move to a new home were the reason for commissioning the painting.
Da Vinci used the well-known layout style of pyramid design to set his subject in the centre of the painting, with her head and hands forming the corners. The artist also gave a feeling of distance from himself or the viewer to the subject by incorporating the armrests of the chair more prominently than was normal for that time.
It was the emergence of the Symbolist movement that signalled the rise in popularity in the Mona Lisa painting, as it’s element of mystery fitted in well. It was also very unusual at this time for a portrait to include an imaginary background, in another break from tradition.
The Mona Lisa remains the most famous painting to have been stolen and recovered from the Louvre, Paris, which itself is possibly the best known displayer of art in the world. The painting has also been scrutinised, discussed and theorised more than any other painting due to the mystery surrounding its subject, and the vague emotional state that the painting portrays of her.
As new art movements appear all the time, Renaissance art still has an important role in art history studies, and the paintings themselves from the Renaissance & Baroque eras remain popular with traditional art lovers, with many who see these as showing real talent over other more contemporary works. The Mona Lisa continues to be the best known painting around the world, and still today is the subject of controversial debate regarding its history.