The Mona Lisa, often simply referred to as the Lisa, is Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work of art, and with good reason: it’s an icon of Western civilization and arguably the most recognizable painting on earth.
Here are ten interesting facts about the Mona Lisa that you may not know.
1) The Mona Lisa is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini
The Mona Lisa is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting is believed to have been created by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1517. It is thought that the work was commissioned for their new home, and may have been intended to be displayed in the couple's bedroom.
The subject is shown with an enigmatic smile on her face, which has given rise to speculation as to its meaning. Some say she is smiling because she knows some secret or understands some riddle; others argue she simply has a taut mouth from constantly being painted.
The painting had spent much time at Versailles where Louis XIV had it moved for his personal collection in 1678 after he became king.
2) The painting was created by Leonardo da Vinci
The painting was created by Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, Italy. The painting is a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, who was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. It was commissioned by Francesco for his wife around 1503 and took nearly four years to complete.
The painting is two meters tall and three meters wide (6' 6 x 9'). It's made of oil on a poplar panel, and has been part of many different exhibitions over the years.
3) The Mona Lisa is believed to be painted between 1503 and 1506
The Mona Lisa is believed to be painted between 1503 and 1506 by Leonardo da Vinci. The subject of the painting is believed to be Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a merchant and landowner in Florence.
In addition to being one of the most famous paintings in art history, it is also one of the most imitated paintings. There are many theories about why she is not showing her mouth but there are two popular theories.
The first theory says that Leonardo was so enthralled with her beauty that he forgot to paint her mouth, while the second theory believes that she may have been hiding a smile as some believe she would have had children at this time and would have been happy after bearing children.
4) The painting is on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris
The painting is on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The painting was originally commissioned by Francesco del Giocondo, who was a wealthy silk merchant and a member of the Florentine Wool Guild.
It has been speculated that Leonardo da Vinci completed the painting in 1503 or 1504, and it may have been interrupted by Leonardo's work on The Battle of Anghiari. In 1506 King Francis I acquired the painting for his art collection, but he had no idea what he had bought!
The Louvre Museum opened in 1793 after being invaded during the French Revolution. In 1816 Napoleon ordered that all paintings from royal collections be brought to the Louvre and placed under state control.
Initially, this included just over one thousand, two hundred (1,200) paintings. Today the museum houses around one hundred thousand (100,000) pieces including masterpieces such as 'The Mona Lisa'.
A portrait of a woman as she might have looked when she was in her twenties Size: 31x21
5) The Mona Lisa is also known as La Gioconda
The Mona Lisa is also known as La Gioconda. It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503 and hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is believed to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
The most famous mystery of the painting remains: why does she smile? Some say that it's because she has found true love and became happy again, while others think that her enigmatic smile means she knows some sort of secret or has some unspoken knowledge.
6) The painting measures 77 x 53 cm
The painting measures 77 x 53 cm, which makes it one of the world's smallest paintings. It was painted on a piece of poplar wood and took Leonardo da Vinci three years to complete.
The painting has been stolen twice, in 1911 and again in 1977, both times by thieves who were never caught.
7) The identity of the woman in the painting is still a mystery
The identity of the woman in the painting is still a mystery. Some believe she was Lisa Gherardini, a Florentine merchant's wife and the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who commissioned the painting from Leonardo da Vinci. Others theorize that she is Monna Vanna or Monna Olimpia, or someone else entirely.
In 1506 Leonardo da Vinci wrote to his friend, poet Andrea Maffei: All the portrait I have painted until now have been likenesses of people who are alive, but this one of a living person I shall paint as though dead; which will be an extraordinary thing.
8) The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a woman in her early 30s
The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a woman in her early 30s. Her identity has long been debated but many believe she was Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine merchant who commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint her portrait.
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world and has now become an iconic symbol of art in general.
9) The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci and is housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. This painting is so famous that its subject's identity has been debated for centuries.
Some believe it is a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci himself while others think it depicts his patron or lover, Lisa Gherardini. There are many theories as to why she never smiles - perhaps because her husband had died a few years before the painting was done or because she looks away from us and doesn't want us to see what she feels.
10) The painting is set against a backdrop of mountains and rivers
The painting is set against a backdrop of mountains and rivers, making it difficult to determine what is actually in front of her. The woman is wearing a beige dress and looking out of frame, perhaps at the viewer.
The painting was first named La Gioconda which means the happy woman. The title has been shortened over time to Mona Lisa or La Gioconna. Leonardo da Vinci has been linked with this piece for more than three hundred years and there are many theories on who the subject of this portrait might be including da Vinci's mother, Francesco del Giocondo's wife or someone else entirely.
It is believed that da Vinci painted the picture from memory since he had not met his subject.