The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, and is probably the most famous piece of painted artwork of all time. The subject of this portrait is a woman by the name of Lisa Gherardini, who’s husband, Fernando Del Giocondo, requested the painting of her. Lisa came from a well-known family in Tuscany, and her husband was a wealthy citizen who wanted a memento created to celebrate their new home and the birth of their son. This art was created in the early 1500′s, and although was painted in Italy, it is now on display at the Louvre museum in Paris, France.
The History and Background of This Mysterious Painting
For centuries, this painting has stirred up a great deal of controversy, and has been the focus of in-depth studies. The facial expression of the subject has been debated by many scholars due to its ambiguity and perplexity. After centuries of debate and studies on this mysterious subject, it was not until the year 2005 that the identity of the subject of this famous painting was entirely understood.
The Artist Himself – Leonardo Da Vinci
Aside from the mystery surrounding the painting’s subject, this artwork is also extremely famous because of its creator – Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo is one of the most famous artists who has ever lived, if not the most famous. He was an incredibly intelligent and talented man, not only as an artist, but also as a scientist, doctor and inventor.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting and sketching techniques have created mystery around not only the Mona Lisa, but another of his hugely famous paintings – The Last Supper. This painting has also been the subject of immense study, mystery and speculation.
Da Vinci was able to paint and draw the human form due to his study of human cadavers. After years of studying the human form, he mastered the ability to put it on canvas. Aside from painting, Da Vinci was also a skilled sketch artist, and had an uncanny ability to draw. Aside from the now infamous Mona Lisa, another immensely popular artwork of Da Vinci’s is the Vitruvian Man, which is known all over the world, particularly in the sciences, due the anatomical and biological aspects of the sketch.
Da Vinci liked to paint on a variety of surfaces, not just canvas. He began painting predominantly biblical paintings, but increasingly painted portraits that were commissioned to him due to his growing popularity and prominence.
Da Vinci’s Painting Techniques
Da Vinci used oils to depict the image of Lisa Gherardini. One of the most unique aspects of the Mona Lisa is the fact that this painting was done on a cottonwood panel. This is highly unusual for a commissioned painting to be created on a surface such as this, rather than on the typical canvas medium. The use of the cottonwood panel is part of the reason why this painting has been so famous and studied. Because of the use of the cottonwood, the painting has been able to maintain a great deal of its luster without having to be restored, which is absolutely amazing.
The Mona Lisa was created during the Renaissance, which was a period when biblical images were painted, and anatomically correct aspects of humans were depicted. In fact, it is the attention to human detail that distinguishes art from this time period. The fantastic use of shadowing at Lisa’s eyes and lips creates a bit of mystery and amusement, as well as the incredible detail in the facial expression and hands. This painting really is one of the absolute greats during this period of art.
The background of the Mona Lisa depicts a lovely landscape and aerial views. As beautiful as this background is, the depiction of the subject tends to mute it, due to the amazing vibrancy of the subject’s hands and face. The fact that Da Vinci was able to complete this painting with no trace of brush marks makes this artwork a true masterpiece.
Theft and Vandalism of the Mona Lisa
Back in 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Lovre museum, and stayed missing for 2 years. It was originally believed that Pablo Picasso was the thief, and was even jailed for the crime. However, he was later released. In 1913, an Italian patriot by the name of Vincenzo Perugia tried to sell the painting to an art gallery in Florence, and was then arrested for the theft of the Mona Lisa. Perugia was an employee at the Louvre, and believed that this painting belonged in Italy. As such, he removed the painting from the museum and hid it in his apartment for 2 years before it was discovered that he was in possession of the infamous painting.
In addition to the theft back in the early 1900′s, attempts at vandalizing this piece of art have also occurred. The bottom portion of the painting was damaged by a vandal throwing acid at it back in 1956. Another attempt to ruin the painting occurred later that same year, after some of the paint near the subject’s elbow chipped off due to a rock being thrown at it. Because of the threat of further vandalism, the painting is now on display behind bullet-proof glass.
Owning a Piece of History
Although the original Mona Lisa is behind bullet proof glass, lovers of art all around the world can still own a print of this masterpiece. Art.com is an online gallery that sells prints of the infamous painting. Depending on what your particular tastes are, you can choose from variations of this painitng, from an exact duplicate, to a close-up of specific parts of the painting.
This Mona Lisa print is available in 20 different sizes at Art.com, and ranges in prices from $43.99 to $337.99.
This print of Mona Lisa’s hands is available in 10 different sizes at Art.com, ranging in price from $49.99 to $249.99.
The Mona Lisa is truly a masterpiece. The artist, the subject, the mystery, the techniques and the materials used for this painting have made it what it is. It represents a time period of amazing art, and incredible attention to human detail. This painting truly changed the style and technique of painting, which is why it is considered the great masterpiece.
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