If someone where to ask you to name a famous painting, what would you say? I would answer The Mona Lisa, possibly the most prominent painting there is today. For my research project, I will be analyzing, retelling, and exploring the Mona Lisa. I chose this piece of artwork because I love art and was just interested in why the Mona Lisa is such a well-known painting.
The Mona Lisa was created by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. It was started in approximately c.1503 in the town of Florence, Italy. In 1503, according to the official website of the Louvre museum, an Italian silk merchant by the name of Francesco del Giocondo came to Da Vinci with a request for a portrait of his wife, Lisa Gherardini. The painting was oil paints on a poplar wood canvas. Today, it is displayed in The Louvre Museum in Paris, France at 77x53 centimeters. In Italy, the Mona Lisa is called La Gioconda. However, in France, it is referred to as La Joconde. It is known that the name Mona Lisa translates to my lady, Lisa- being the name of Franceso del Giocondo’s wife.
No one actually knows why the Mona Lisa was created but a theory was that it was created to commemorate Francesco and Lisa’s second son, Andrea. After Leonardo died, the painting was brought by the King of France. From there, it hung on the walls of the Palace of Fountainebleau for several generations. Over the years, the Mona Lisa had different homes, even on the bedroom walls of Napoleon.
Many historians ponder over one important question: Where is the second Mona Lisa? You might be confused so let me clarify. Leonardo is known to have another painting of the original one, meaning he creates two versions of one painting. To back this claim, two versions of one painting by Leonardo da Vinci was found including, The Virgin and Child and The Madonna. Also, documents recorded that Da Vinci showed to two men a collection of paintings including one of a Florentine woman. Leonardo explained that it was created for the late Giuliano de’Medici. Stanley Feldman, an art historian quotes, “It starts to become apparent that there were two separate commissions, one for Francesco del Giocondo and another one for Giuliano de’Medici.” Another clue is that when Italian artist Raphael visited Da Vinci, he described a picture of what appears to be the Mona Lisa in c.1504. The difference is that in Raphael’s sketch, there were columns in the back, but in the Mona Lisa presented at the Louvre, there are none.
In c.1913, art historian and collector Hugh Blaker discovered the original Mona Lisa in the home of an English noble who states that his family was in possession of painting for almost 150 years. It was still unfinished. Excited about his finding, Blaker buys the painting and brings it back to Italy. Still, it cannot be displayed just yet because shortly after, World War I breaks out. Worried for the safety of the painting, Blaker sends the painting to the U.S where it was displayed in the Boston Museum of...