Probably the most recognizable painting in the worldThis painting has excited great interest for centuries, and there is probably no one who does not know it. It shows the portrait of an average Florentine woman, a wife, a mother, leading an ordinary, quiet middle-class life. Leonardo da Vinci's masterful painting technique made the woman's mysterious smile the subject of inquiries from art experts and even university analyses. The painting, on display in the Luvre Collection, is admired by some 10 million visitors a year.
1.Mona Lisa is an oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
The masterpiece measures 77 x 53 cm and was painted on a poplar board.
2.The painting was created between 1503 and 1507.
It is now in the Louvre in Paris and is a bone of contention between the French and Italians, as both nations consider it their national treasure.
3.The French feel the ownership of the painting because after the death of the master Leonardo, his sisters sold the "Mona Lisa" to the French King Francis I.
King bought the portrait for the considerable sum of four thousand gold crowns - equivalent to $9.7 million today! And so it came to France.
4.At first, it hung in the palace of Fontainebleau, in the royal bathing salon.
After fifty years, the painting was moved to the Cabinet des Tableaux. During the reign of Louis XIV, it was taken to Versailles and later to the Louvre, shortly after the latter was opened.
5.It was a decoration of the French Emperor interiors for a while.
From the Louvre, Mona Lisa was taken by Napoleon Bonaparte to his bedroom at Tuileries Palace. When the Emperor was exiled to St. Helena Island in 1815, the "Mona Lisa" returned to the Louvre.
6.The work was put on permanent display at the Louvre in 1797.
It is one of the most famous and valuable paintings of the Renaissance and the most protected work of art in the world. Many myths and theories surround the painting, such as the Louvre exhibiting not the original but one of many copies of the portrait.
7.Except for France, Mona Lisa has been exhibited in only three countries in the world so far.
After World War II, the painting was presented in the United States in 1963 and Japan and the Soviet Union in 1974. The authorities of Florence also tried to lend the artwork on the occasion of a major exhibition in 2013, but the management of the Louvre firmly refused.
8.In the United States, "Mona Lisa" was exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
More than 2,000 dignitaries attended the exhibition, including President John F. Kennedy. The exhibit opened to the public the next day and was seen by an estimated 500,000 people over the next three weeks. The painting then went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where another million people saw it. The painting was then insured for $100 million.
9.It is assumed that the painting was commissioned by a Florentine merchant, Francesco Gioconda, who never became its owner.
The biographers of da Vinci argue on this subject. There are suppositions that it was the master himself who forced the merchant to agree to paint the portrait of his wife.
10.There are also several hypotheses about who the woman portrayed really was.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, many researchers identified da Vinci's model with other, more famous historical figures (Isabella of Aragon, Beatrice d'Este, Constanza d'Avalos).