The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci
By David Dobbs
We all know that the Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world. Located at the Louvre in Paris and is seen by over 10 million people per year. It is 77 cm × 53 cm ( the same size as a 40 Zoll TV screen) and sits behind bulletproof glass. Since 2019, as a visitor, you get 30 seconds of viewing at a distance of 4.5 metres. In my opinion, it is not the best way to view art.
The painting which is said to depict the Italian noblewoman Lisa del Giocondo, is painted in oil on a white Lombardy poplar panel. It was procured by King Francis I of France in the 16th century, and therefore, considered the property of the French Republic. The painting has been on display at the Louvre in Paris since 1797.
In 1911, the painting was stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, who worked at the Louvre and wanted to repatriate the painting back to its Italian roots. The theft made international headlines and created global fame after its recovery in 1914.
It is a Renaissance piece that was painted in the 16th century. Some say 1503 -1506, others as late as 1519. This would account for the many changes, as it was repainted and modified several times -Information that was acquired during restoration. The family never received the painting and Da Vinci gave it to his favourite apprentice in his will. Maybe Da Vinci was not entirely satisfied and wanted his apprentice to finish it.
It is difficult to judge a painting that is so old and faded. Its dark nature (although popular during the Renaissance period) is not a style that I prefer. However, the quality of the art itself is something that cannot be matched. The blending of the features (no sharpness around the eyes, nose, and face) is expertly done, and the background view over the balcony (with the horizon on the eyes and not on the shoulders) is inspirational for that period. We will never see the original colours in all their glory as previous restoration processes have taken their toll on the portrait, but we can only imagine how King Francis I must have loved it. The most interesting question that always arises when discussing the painting, is that nobody knows if Lisa is smiling or not. The majority of his work all have figures with their mouths closed. Was it a style that was accepted at the time or maybe Da Vinci had problems painting teeth.
David Dobbs is a writer of short stories, poetry, and interesting and thought provoking texts. He loves to go out and photograph the world as he sees it, occasionally, adding his own creative elements to enhance the picture. When the inspiration grabs him, he is known to paint as well. More about David here.