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.