- from Leonardo da Vinci
A woman, dressed simply in black, sits calmly, one hand placed over the other, her body turned slightly away from the viewer. Trees and a lake are in the background. So, what’s the big deal? Why is this the most discussed painting in the world?
Maybe it’s because of that smile. Mysterious, haunting, welcoming, remote, beguiling, enigmatic, beautiful: these are just a few of the words that have described the famous smile in the world’s most famous painting. Mona Lisa was a real person. Born in 1479, she lived in Florence, Italy. She was married to Francesco del Giocondo, a rich silk merchant. He asked Leonardo to paint her portrait around 1503. In Italy, the Mona Lisa is known as La Gioconda, from Mona Lisa’s married name.
Leonardo worked on the painting for years. He added thin layer upon thin layer to create haunting and delicate effects of light and shadow. Leonardo loved the painting so much that he kept it for himself. He never even gave it to the person he painted it for! Take a good look at the masterpiece. Pay attention to that famous smile. Why do you think the Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world?