Interesting Things About The Mona Lisa
What makes a work of art a masterpiece? Is it the techniques the artist used? The subject? Some seemingly arbitrary decision by art historians and gallery keepers? Certainly many of those factors go into it, but what really makes a work last and stand the test of time is a universal appeal to the basic elements that make us human. And the best of the best are endlessly rewarding; viewers connect with the work, but it doesn’t stop there. Subsequent viewings reveal new things every time.
What happens when new technology comes along that gives us a new look at old masterpieces? Does that altered view, and the new information it provides, change whether a work of art is a masterpiece or not? Will it change how we view the masters themselves? It’s a question we’ll have to come to grips with, as new technology aimed at one of the world’s greatest paintings has revealed something unexpected — and the art world doesn’t know quite what to make of it.
Everybody knows the Mona Lisa. If you’re asked to name a painting, any painting, chances are the Mona Lisa will be the first one to spring to mind.
Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa — also known as La Gioconda — over three years, from 1503-06, and may have continued working on her until 1517. The painting depicts Lisa Gherardini and was commissioned by her husband, Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. Leonardo’s masterpiece has been in the Louvre’s collection since 1797.
Ever an object of desire, the Mona Lisa was owned by King Francois I, Louis XIV, and, briefly, Napoleon Bonaparte. It has been stolen from the Louvre once and attacked on several occasions.
Pop culture has interpreted and re-interpreted the Mona Lisa time and time again and used it for its own purposes.