Mona Lisa, “La Joconde” in French, is one of the most emblematic portraits in the international history of painting. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, Mona Lisa entered the collections of the courtyard of France to finally be part of the artworks exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
It is said that the Mona Lisa is an artwork that Leonardo da Vinci invited by King François I, would have brought with him to France.
The story mentions that a feminine portrait was with the Italian artist and scientist during his stay at the Castle of Clos Lucé (also called Manor of Cloux) next to Amboise (castle of the Loire).
The Mona Lisa was then a part of the Royal collections to be exhibited at the Palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV. She took up residence in the Louvre only in 1797.
The composition technique of the Mona Lisa makes it one of the most studied works in the history of art by apprentice artists. It is appreciated for its very modern framing. Like a portrait that could have been painted nowadays. More subtly, optical effects are created by the location of the eyes of a young woman and her discreet smile. Some people say that one has the impression of being constantly observed by the Mona Lisa, whatever the position from which one looks at it.
This anecdote demonstrates the scientific and anatomical knowledge of Leonardo da Vinci. As for the famous smile of Mona Lisa, testimonies narrate that a group of musicians played during the painter’s work, so that she kept this joyful attitude.
The Legend of the Mona Lisa
It is undoubtedly the mysteries that have surounded Mona Lisa which has led her to acquire such fame. But is it really Lisa who is represented? It is reported that Leonardo Da Vinci sponsor of the painting was a noble installed in Florence. Twice widowed, Francesco del Giocondo married in 1495 a young woman named Lisa.
It is this story that gave the name by which this amazing painting has been named. Yet another theory holds that the young woman represented a favorite of Julian de Medici, leader of the Florentine Republic. Until today, the mystery has still not been resolved.
The Mona Lisa became popular to the international set in 1911 after it’s robbery. The press seizes the event: one wonders who was able to steal the Mona Lisa, why and how? The portrait is returned, the thief was a very chauvinist Italian named Vincenzo Peruggia. His act had the ambition of restoring work to his native country.
The Mona Lisa in popular culture
In 1919, Marcel Duchamp did not hesitate to reinterpret the portrait of Mona Lisa and deliver his own version. By writing “LHOOQ” to read “look” in English, each letter read one at a time in French makes a jingling joke. In 2003, the novel of Dan Brown sold at more than 80 million copies gave a new dimension to the Mona Lisa. This masterpiece artwork is in the center of one of the mysteries set forth in the Da Vinci Code, the esoteric polar novel.
The Mona Lisa in Urban Art
More recently, street artists and graffiti artists took over the icon of Leonardo da Vinci. Banksy had fun diverting the beautiful Lisa by equipping her with a rocket launcher, Okuda painted her in geometric shapes and color on a tower of the 13th district of Paris, Hopare has honored her in one of his finest works, an urban artist represented her naked in Seoul, Os Gemeos dressed her with Blue Jeans and cap with a beer in her hand, another graffiti represents her wearing the mask of the famous hacker group Anonymous …
In short, whether it is with humor or simply a reinterpretation of the work Mona Lisa will long be a source of inspiration for artists. The Mona Lisa has not ceased to amaze all of us!
Here is a selection of street art and graffiti artworks dedicated to Mona Lisa.
Mona Lisa on the WALL:
All pictures by courtesy of the artists and from the web