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The mysterious smile of a famous lady!

November 22, 2008

monalisaHer face is most familiar in the world. She receives thousands of visitors each day. Yet she doesn’t have a particularly beautiful face, nor does she wear fashionable clothes. She merely sits, very straight, her hands resting in front of her, and she stares out at her visitors, never saying a word. She is called Mona Lisa. Hers is the most famous portrait painting in the world, as well as the most valuable – estimated at $100,000,000!

Leonardo Da Vinci, her creator, lived from 1452 to 1519, and was a  well known painter in Florence , Italy. One day Da Vinci was asked by Francesco del Giocondo to paint a portrait of his young wife. The couple was grieving over the recent death of their only baby daughter.  Hoping to cheer up his wife, del Giocondo decided to have her portrait painted.

When the portrait was begun, Mona Lisa was 21 years old. By the times it was finished, she was age 30! Da Vinci worked on the painting for over nine years. During that time, he found peace and comfort when took up his brush to work on the painting. He hired musicians to play his favorite music while he worked. Even when it was finished, Da Vinci kept the painting with him, never turning it over to the couple who had commissioned it.

From its first showing, the Mona Lisa immediately became famous. There is a certain mystery to her. What is she thinking behind those softly shadowed eyes? Is that a smile on her face or a look of sadness? We don’t know for sure.

The Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris, France. It’s a small painting and has been copied by many artists. If you ever have the chance to visit the Mona Lisa, what will her mysterious expression say to you?

Take from: The Incredible Treasure of Amazing Knowlege (Book)

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. shobig permalink
    November 22, 2008 11:43 pm

    Check out ‘Girl with the pearl earing’ by Johannes Vermeer. It’s another fascinating portrait of a woman, often called Mona Lisa of the West.

  2. Ayesha permalink
    November 23, 2008 10:48 am

    Just checked out! This one seems pretty contemporary but beautiful nonetheless.

  3. November 23, 2008 5:52 pm

    I’ve never really wondered about this but it’s an intriguing story behind such a famous painting.

  4. Asma permalink
    November 24, 2008 5:20 am

    I have seen the painting in the Louvre – long time back – It is a very small picture – the reprodictions are HUGE – but the real thing is quite small in size actually – you get kind of disappointed – the eyes follow you where ever you go – thats the wierd thing – I found her eyes to be more expressive than the smile she is famous for. They wouldnt let you take pics with flash – and there was no point without one at the time as it was rather shady in that area of the museum.

    Been such a long long time – almost 20 yrs I think since I saw Paris :P

  5. Asma permalink
    November 24, 2008 5:21 am

    “reproductions” – spells again!

  6. Ayesha permalink
    November 24, 2008 4:34 pm

    HFM: There is always an interesting story behind every creation :)

    Wonderful Asma! I am sure must be fun visiting Louvre :)

    The article above also says the original painting is quite small. And yet, Da Vinci spent 9 years completing it :P

  7. shobig permalink
    November 25, 2008 1:18 am

    @ asma: “the eyes follow you where ever you go”

    That’s the case with every portrait, photographed or painted, looking straight into the observer’s eyes. That’s not the distinguishing feature of this portrait. There are other subtle characteristics, like the right-left asymmetry of the facial features as well as that of the background, and its appearing to be a man’s face from one angle and a woman’s from the other (if I recall correctly from what I read somewhere a while ago). The most dominant feature of Leonardo’s paintings, however, is that he used to first paint his canvas black and then added colors to it, in analogy with nature which transitions form no-light (black) to light (color).

  8. Asma permalink
    November 25, 2008 4:57 am

    I was rather young when I saw it – early teens – and I always had this aversion to eyes following me – so maybe that is why it creeped me out! :P

  9. November 26, 2008 5:50 pm

    Aah, Mona Lisa. Met her in June this year. There are quite a few stories about the mysterious lady. Nobody’s really sure so far. There are also suggestions that maybe Leonardo wasn’t the painter. A mystery, all in all!

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