The History of the Beloved Mona Lisa
Through the years adults and children alike have been astounded and awestruck at the marvellous exhibit of the Mona Lisa. Yet many have questions of Leonardo da Vinci and his work of art that have been left unanswered.
The Early Life of the Artist
Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian inventor, geologist, astronomist, atonomist, engineer mathematician, musician, scientist, architect, painter, and sculptor. He had a lot of hobbies! He was born at the “third hour of the night” out of wedlock in a small town called Vinci. His father was Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci. Try memorizing that one! The first five years of Leonardo’s life was spent in the care of his mother and after that in his father’s house. The only legitimate sons of Piero Fruosino came through his third wife, Margherita di Guglielmo, who birthed six! Another six came along with his fourth wife. All in all Leonardo da Vinci had twelve half siblings and four dead stepmothers.
At fourteen Leonardo began to apprentice as a studio boy with Andrea di Cione, also known as Verrocchio. Verrocchio was the leading artist in his time and was so for seven years. Leonardo would have learned much in the workshop of Verrocchio. Sometimes other painters or sculptors would come and associate with the workshop such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli, and Lorenzo di Credi. Many other ways of art would have been used such there also, such as metalworking, mechanics, carpentry, drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, plaster, casting, and leather working. Leonardo would have learned much that he knew at the workshop. Rumour has it that after Verrocchio saw that his apprentice had surpassed his talent he never picked up a paintbrush again.
The official year that Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa is fairly unknown. Many say between 1503-6 but many also say post 1513. It is said that da Vinci later in his life regretted not completing a single piece of work. He painted the Mona Lisa in many different places. It seems he just picked it up and took it with him wherever he went. He started it in Florence Italy, though. It is in the French national museum, the Louvre in Paris right now.
The Description of the Painting
When looking at the masterpiece, the first thing that is noticed is a beautiful woman with brown hair and eyes and a slight closed mouthed smile. She is wearing a black see through veil that is covering her hair. Her position and facial expression gives off the appearance that she is at ease. A billowing green dress is wrapped around her and and her hands are resting on the arm of the chair she is sitting on. If you look closely, you may notice that she does not have any eyelashes or eyebrows. This could be because back in the day women would pluck out any facial hair they had to make their forehead seem bigger and give off the appearance of a smart mind, or it could be that Leonardo never finished this masterpiece.
It seems that she is wearing a black see through veil that is covering her hair. Behind her is a landscape scene of a valley. In the valley and to the left there are two small mountains and a road curving in between those mountains. There is also a lake and the sky looks slightly overcast. To the right is a grassy valley and what seems to be a bridge at the base of a very large mountain. The bridge is the only thing that shows it is humanly occupied. So far there has been no findings that the landscape is a real place. It is possible it was of the imagination, or that it was inspired by the popular Chinese paintings back in the day. The medium of this painting is oil on poplar panel and its technique is sfumato.
The painting of the Mona Lisa took long over four years to come to the state of completion. Leonardo da Vinci commenced the painting in 1503. Unfortunately, it was never given to its rightful owner, Francesco del Giocondo, the husband of Mona Lisa herself. Instead it was requested by King Francis I of France and is now the property of France.
On August 22nd 1911, painter Louis Béroud walked through the Louvre and found himself standing in front of four iron pegs where the Mona Lisa had been only one night before. Two years later the thief turned himself into the authorities. Vincenzo Peruggia, a Louvre employee, had hidden in a closet until viewing hours were over. He then walked out, took the painting and left with it under his jacket. He believed that the Italian painting should belong to Italy. When the museum reopened after the painting went missing, more people came than when it was there. Thousands of people went to the museum to see an empty spot on the wall. Other mishaps have happened to the Mona Lisa. A vandal once through acid at it and later another vandal through a rock art it. This caused a later restored speck of pigment to dislodge near the left elbow. Bulletproof glass is now protecting the Mona Lisa. In 1979 sprayed red paint at the painting in protest for the museums policy for disabled people. In 2009 another women who was denied French citizenship through a teacup at the glass. The painting had no damage to it thanks to the bulletproof glass.
The Main Attraction of the Louvre
After the painting was sold to the king of France it rested in his bathroom. Back in the day king’s bathrooms were nothing like what we have today. They often had paintings along the walls and were very large. After the French revolution the Mona Lisa was moved to the Louvre in Paris, France. Over six million people have seen the Mona Lisa each year. She has been given her own room and is the main attraction of the Louvre in France. The studies of the University of Amsterdam have concluded that through her smile you can tell that she is 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, and 2% angry. Whether or not this is accurate, because she is not a living being, is a question unanswered. Through x-rays and other tests it is shown that Leonardo da Vinci painted over three earlier versions of the Mona Lisa. In one of them she is wearing a bonnet. Its Insurance cost $100 Million in 1962. That is worth $800 million now.
I hope you know more about the beloved Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci now than you did before. I have found it has been educational to write about this beautiful lady on canvas.
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Introduction Through the years adults and children alike have been astounded and awestruck at the marvellous exhibit of the Mona Lisa. Yet many have questions of Leonardo da Vinci and […]