The Mona Lisa is enchanting,
world-famous, seductive, and enigmatic in the hearts of millions. It is
considered as the ultimate artwork, endlessly admired, and photographed all
over the world. The painting appears in countless advertisements, has inspired
poetry, sculpture, forgery, and even theft. Yet, behind the enigmatic look, she
is a mystery.
So, what made her the world’s most famous painting? Why were millions thronging to catch a glimpse of the artwork during its exhibition in New York? What’s so unique about it? Why were the viewers given just 10 seconds to see it in Tokyo? There are several reasons behind the painting’s enduring fame.
To understand the reason
behind the enduring fame of this artwork, one must look into the origins of the
masterpiece, innovative art techniques, and famous theft attempts.
During the 16th
century, a man created a painting of a woman. The man was none other than
Leonardo Da Vinci – an artist, scientist, inventor, doctor, genius. The final
outcome of his artwork was the inscrutable portrait we now called the Mona
The woman’s identity in the
portrait is one of the painting’s many conundrums. Who was she? It is believed
that she was the spouse of a humble merchant by the name, Francesco del
Giocondo. He was the one who commissioned Da Vinci to create a painting of his
spouse, Lisa Gherardini.
It took Da Vinci almost a
decade (1509-1519) to create this masterpiece and it is actually one of his few
Unique Art Techniques
Leonardo Da Vinci
incorporated a number of innovative and unique techniques to create this
masterpiece. The realistic, life-like painting of Mona Lisa is unlike most
artworks of his time (16th century).
Leonardo’s art techniques were unique and unknown during the Renaissance. He’s the one who invented the “sfumato”, a technique that produces soft outlines by allowing colors and tones to gradually melt into one another.
Aside from using sfumato,
which was a rare technique during the 16th century, the woman’s
enigmatic expression was something else. At once both enticing and aloof, it is
said that her expression changes when viewed from different angles.
The Mona Lisa (aka La
Gioconda) is also the first Italian half-length portrait. Also, because of
Leonardo’s incredible mastery in shadows and lighting, the woman’s eyes seem to
follow wherever the viewer may be standing.
There were, of course,
several other unique characteristics about the Mona Lisa such as the landscape
in the background. Generally, portraits were drawn with a room as the
background or an open sky, or a monotone background. Furthermore, the mountains
in the Mona Lisa gave it a more whimsical look.
The Heist That Made It Famous
For centuries, the painting of Mona Lisa hung silently, generally unnoticed, in the Louvre. But it all changed on 21 August 1911, when it got stolen from the museum in a heist that brought worldwide attention.
When officials realized that
the painting was missing, the museum remained closed for seven days for
investigators to piece the puzzle together. Initially, several conspiracy
theories came about: some considered it a publicity stunt staged by Louvre,
speculations that Pablo Picasso had stolen it or perhaps, Guillaume Apollinaire
was behind it. The French police condemned the Louvre for its lax security,
whereas the museum publically criticized law enforcement officers for not being
able to come up with any leads.
Two years later, in late
1913, an art dealer from Florentine by the name, Alfredo Geri received a note
from a man who had the painting. Upon receiving the letter, Alfredo contacted
the police immediately and got Vincenzo Peruggia arrested.
Vincenzo was an Italian
carpenter and investigation revealed that he worked at the museum when the
heist took place. He admitted that he simply took the painting off from the
wall and snuck in under his coat and left the museum.
The painting was found
hidden safely in his apartment, which was not so far from the museum. Vincenzo did it because he felt that the
artwork was meant to be a property of an Italian museum and not a French one.
After the Louvre got the
Mona Lisa back, thousands of French flocked to view the artwork and soon,
people from all over the world did too. The painting which was a simple, small
portrait of a supposedly smiling woman became an overnight sensation. This
ultimately led to the painting becoming the world’s most recognized artwork.
Every year, over 6 million
people head to Paris to view the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. After all, it is the
most popular, most enigmatic and of course, the most talked-about artwork of
Although the painting is
undoubtedly an incredible work of art, there is no one reason for its fame.
Rather, it is the combination of a hundred circumstances and the portrait’s
inherent appeal that makes the Mona Lisa one of the world’s most popular
Located in Paris, France, if
you were to ever pay the Mona Lisa a visit, you will also get to see some beautiful
and stunning Instagram-worthy landmarks, monuments, parks in Paris. Of course,
you’ll need to have followers if you wish to get your posts noticed. Fortunately, there are sites that help you
gainfree Instagram followers to make sure that
none of your pictures go unappreciated.
There is no denying that the Mona Lisa is the most famous painting you will come across. It was the work of Leonardo da Vinci – an Italian artist believed to have created the timeless piece somewhere between 1503 and 1506. The half-length portrait is believed to be the image of Lisa Gherardini who was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. It is believed that Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to start working on the painting while in Italy, but he finished it while he was living in France.
The painting was later to be acquired by King Francis I of France, making it a property of the French people. It is not very clear where the original painting is at the moment, but there is a similar one on display at Paris’ Louvre – one of the most famous museums in the world. With that said, here are some facts you will find to be fascinating about the Mona Lisa.
1: Mona Lisa is not her name
The subject of the painting has been referred to as Mona Lisa for centuries and many think that this is the name of the beautiful lady with the cunning smile. Well, Mona Lisa is just the name of the painting and not the name of the lady. The lady is known as Lisa Gherardini, the adorable wife of Francesco Del Giocondo. The term, “Mona Lisa” is the Italian equivalent of “My Lady Lisa.”
2: Leonardo da Vinci never completed the work
When most people look at the timeless
piece, they see a complete piece of art, but what they don’t know is that the
portrait was never completed by Leonardo da Vinci. It was one of the many
paintings that life cut him short before he could find time to finish them.
3: Napoleon had a very strong crush on her
Napoleon, one of the greatest and
mightiest French emperors, had a very strong crush on Mona Lisa and had the
painting hanging in his bedroom in the palace for nearly four years. It is
believed that it was out of his fascination with the painting that he fell in
love with the lovely Italian lady named Teresa Guadagni who was believed to
have been a true descendant of the Lisa Gherardini – the actual Mona Lisa.
4: The painting is smaller than you think
Whenever you see the painting of Mona
Lisa, it is a massive one, but you will be surprised to learn that the actual
painting measures about 30 inches by 21 inches and has a weight of about 18
pounds. Perhaps the legend status it has assumed over the years is what makes
it appear bigger than it really is.
5: Her eyebrows are being debated up to date
A closer look at the portrait will reveal to you a beautiful lady without eyebrows. It is being debated that her lack of eyebrows was a symbol of high-class fashion at the time when the painting was done. Some, on the other hand, argue that the absence of the eyebrows is clear proof that work on the painting was not over. However, ultra-detailed-digital scans done on the painting in 2007 showed that da Vinci did paint the eyebrows and thick eyelashes. However, both are not clearly visible now because they have faded over the years or they have fallen victims of the restoration works that have been done on the painting through the years.
6: So many hearts have been broken by Mona Lisa
As it may sound strange, the painting has
literally broken so many hearts of men around the world. When it was first
placed in public display in Louvre, it attracted lots of admiration and thousands
of men from all over the world came as suitors with flowers, poems, to present
to her only if she would accept their “marriage proposals.” With over one
million paintings in the Louvre, only Mona Lisa got her own mail. These were
love letters from millions of cupid stricken men who wanted a chance to be with
the Mona Lisa, even if she would just be hanging in their bedrooms.
7: Men have lost their lives loving her
At least one man has been recorded to have committed suicide because of Mona Lisa, especially her charming smile. This is the story of an artist named Luc Maspero, who in 1852, decided to jump from the fourth floor of a hotel in Paris, leaving a note behind that said he had grappled desperately with Mona Lisa’s smile, and that he prefers to die. As if this is not enough, an enamored fan decided to end his life by shooting himself on the head while looking upon her.
8: The painting is priceless
If you were to buy the Mona Lisa, how much
you do you think it would cost? Well, one, it is not for sale. Two, if it was
for sale, you probably can’t afford it. During the 1960s, the painting was
given a valuation of over $100 million in insurance when it went on a tour. 50
years later, it was valued to worth about $2.5 billion. It is simply priceless.
You are not an art enthusiast? Looking at art is boring?
It may be, but at least here at this museum
of art and antiquities, you can get drunk or race against technology.
Located on the river Derwent, the Museum of Old and New Art displays David Walsh’s affection for art. The subterranean bunker houses, art from ancient times to contemporary modern art. Australia’s largest private museum displays the diversity of the maker. It is also house to Moorilla winery, Source Restaurant and bars, and accommodation. The playground of art also has Moo Brew.
The building is an art in itself. Worked into three subterranean underground levels decorated with ancient era sandstone along the Cliffside. The four-story is a collection of the most bizarre sculptures and technology unimaginable.
The museum’s founder, David Walsh often refers to the place as ‘Temple of Weird’. It is because nearly every piece of art in this museum is controversial or atypical. The peculiar atmosphere of this museum can take you on a ride. Once you are in, you can observe the unconventional art like a suicide bomber spelled in chocolate magic, 250-million old wall made of sandstone to realize of the evolution and disbelief. The most exciting and enthralling highlight of the museum is the ‘rain painting machine’ which with the help of computer-controlled nozzles, spells out a phrase just like a waterfall.
As you start your tour of the museum, you
enter the mirror entrance through the tennis court. The disgusting thing about
the entrance is the MONA’s cloaca machine which mimics the act of digestion.
Food is processed through six tanks and finally, a stinky heap is released. We
call it “shit machine”. It is the most hated showcase in the entire gallery.
The museum houses around 1900 artworks on display from Walsh’s private collection. In their inaugural exhibition, the collection was called ‘Monanism’ which showcased Sidney Nolan’s Snake Mural. They have released the book with the name of ‘Monanism’ to talk about David’s purpose of building this great architecture.
The Monanism (collection) keeps on changing
every time. David likes to bring in new experiences for the visitors, every
time they visit.
Technology at its
It is not like any other museum where you
walk in a row and read through the scripts about the art pieces. This is a
modern and contemporary masterpiece blended with touch technological
The display at the museum is not in any
chronological order. You can find a mix of antiques and modern art without any
specific segregation. You would wonder where to read about the display as there
are no labels. For this, the founder came up with an idea of using headphones
and specific intelligence.
You are given an option of using the
headphones or custom built-technology called ‘O’. This device is so smart that
it senses where the holder is and it displays the information about the nearby
masterpiece. There are various options available to the visitors in this
device. They can go through the summary, the artist’s viewpoint or the ideas
Artists at Work
The museum is designed in a way so as to
accommodate the structural artifacts from the great artists. These pieces are
the core reason for Walsh’s idea of a museum. The gallery displays works of renowned
artists across its three levels.
Gregory Barsamian is one of the favorite
artists of David Walsh. His structure talks straight about the forms of
cognition and to excel the language.
Sidney Nolan’s art comprises of a 46-meter
long snake, a link between the mythical and contemporary. Other structural elements include Anselm Kiefer,
which shows shards of glass protruding out of the bookcase. Another notifying
element is the chamber of Pausiris.
We are not going to disclose more. You need to take a visit to this art museum to calm your eyes.
MONA also runs a famous exhibition twice in
a year. The summer festival is known as Mofo which is an eclectic mix of music