Last Updated 14 Apr 2020

Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci

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This oil on poplar, 77 x 53 cm, or 30 x 21 inches,   has taken the world by a perennial storm for one reason or the other, for centuries. It is one of the most famous paintings of the world. Its creation is the news for all time to come. When it was stolen, it again made headlines in the world press. So much scrutiny, parody, studies and mythologizing about this little painting, which is greatest of the great! That enigmatic expression, the smile that has no beginning or end, has always taken the world of art critics/lovers   to the flight of an amazing wonderland.

Aesthetics qualities of Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci:

“Silence is the sweetest sound on Earth,” said Mr. Boris Pasternak, the famous Nobel Prize winning Russian author. The gaze of Mona Lisa is fixed on the viewer and it seems to welcome him with her typical silent style of communication. Silence is a divine quality and the immediate effect of viewing this painting is, as if it emits rays of divinity. Leonardo used a pyramid design to make the woman simple and calm, in the space of painting. The light gives the variety of living surfaces an underlying geometry of sphere and circles. The images of seated Madonna were widely popular at that time, and Leonard has used the same method.

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He has admirably succeeded in creating the visual impression of distance between Mona Lisa and the observer. Her sitting angle indicates her reserved posture. The best part that seizes the attention of the viewer is her brightly lit face. Much darker elements there around, like hair, veil and the shadow, create a telling effect as regards the glow on her face. Every feature is divine; every artistic stroke makes you salute Mona Lisa. For a while, you even forget the creator of the painting, and you think that it has arrived straight from the celestial world!

“The painting was one of the first portraits to depict the sitter before an imaginary landscape… Behind her a vast landscape recedes to icy mountains. Winding paths and a distant bridge give only the slightest indications of human presence… are echoed in the undulating imaginary valleys and rivers behind her. The blurred outlines, graceful figure, dramatic contrasts of light and dark, and overall feeling of calm are characteristic of Leonardo's style… for it represents rather an ideal than a real woman. The sense of overall harmony achieved in the painting—especially apparent in the sitter's faint smile— reflects Leonardo's idea of the cosmic link connecting humanity and nature….” (Mona Lisa….)

Regional qualities of Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci:

You observe that Mona Lisa has no visible facial hair at all. No eyebrows or eyelashes. This was done by Leonardo, as per the practice obtaining at that time as genteel women plucked their hair. “In 2004, the Italian scholar Giuseppe Pallanti published Monna Lisa, Mulier Ingenua (literally '"Mona Lisa: Real Woman", published in English under the title Mona Lisa Revealed: The True Identity of Leonardo's Model. The book gathered archival evidence in support of the traditional identification of the model as Lisa Gherardini. According to Pallanti, the evidence suggests that Leonardo's father was a friend of del Giocondo. "The portrait of Mona Lisa, done when Lisa Gherardini was aged about 24, was probably commissioned by Leonardo's father himself for his friends as he is known to have done on at least one other occasion” (Mona Lisa…)

Regardless of the fact that the scenes depicted are relevant to the region to which Leonard belonged, the compositions are united by a magical mood of frozen time. The artist has captured in the painting what he himself has seen and experienced more deeply. No artist can create a masterpiece, if he thinks of the critics in advance-as to what the knower of the art might opine. To be an art critic is one thing; to be an artist is an entirely different matter. A critic writes with the pen using his mind. The artist writes with the strokes of his brush, inspired by the soul! Mona Lisa is the actual life and transformation of Leonard’s life. Therefore, it is believed that he carried the painting, along with him, wherever he went!

“It is difficult to discuss such a work briefly because of the complex stylistic motifs which are part of it. In the essay ``On the perfect beauty of a woman'', by the 16th-century writer Firenzuola, we learn that the slight opening of the lips at the corners of the mouth was considered in that period a sign of elegance” (Web Museum…) All world famous paintings and drawings remind the viewers of the traditional regional images of that time, along with which the artist was brought up and associated with. Such an influence can not be avoided, as all paintings tell everything about the painting and something about the artist who created it. Vibrant regions around him are bound to be reflected in his paintings.

The regional qualities and influences can be seen in the avalanche of modern paintings.  The highlight of the paintings in the 1980s is confrontation between the power of the feminine and the power of the masculine. In the 1990s it has been mythological and religious themes related paintings, environment objects and land art. At the end of the 20th century, it was society’s processes of development. (LNMM-2007)


  • Mona Lisa-- - 107k
  • Web Museum, Paris, Leonardo da Vinci
  •  LNMM: Exhibitions 2007—archives - 43k

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