The Most Interesting and Intriguing Facts About Mona Lisa
One of the most popular paintings in the world is the “Mona Lisa” by the universal genius and Renaissance man – Leonardo de Vinci. After more than 500 years since its creation, the painting continuously captured and captivated the attention of millions of people most especially by art enthusiasts and lovers. It was very popular and controversial for several reasons. Keep that mouse rolling to find the most intriguing and controversial facts about the classical “Mona Lisa”.
1. The Mona Lisa, which is one of the most expensive paintings in the world, is also known as La Gioconda or La Joconde
2. In some instances, it is also called the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini and has been acclaimed as the most sung about, the best known, the most written about, the most parodied and the most visited work of art in the world.
3. La Gioconda is the Italian for “the jocund one”. Jocund means jovial or happy.
4. Lisa Gherardini was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a rich merchant who lived in the City of Florence in Italy. The city is one of the most famous cities in the world during the Renaissance period.
5. This extremely famous painting is a half-length portrait of a woman in oil on a poplar panel and was painted between 1503 and 1506.
6. It is currently on permanent display at the Musee du Louver in Paris, the capital of France which is the most visited country in the world.
7. It is a property of the French Republic and was purchased by King Francois I of France after Leonardo da Vinci’s death from his student and assistant Salai, who inherited the painting including his other works.
8. It was bought by King Francois I for 4,000 ecus and kept it at Palace of Fontainebleau and then it was given to Louis XIV and was kept at the Palace of Versailles.
9. The term “Mona Lisa” is taken from the Italian “Ma Donna Lisa” which means “My Lady Lisa”. Mona is the contraction of Madonna.
10. The painting is thought to have been commissioned for the new home of Francesco del Giocondo and Lisa and to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea.
11. The “Mona Lisa” is an unfinished painting by Leonardo da Vinci like many of his work.
12. The painting also spent a short period of time in the bedroom of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Palace of Tuileries.
13. It was moved to the Louvre after the French Revolution and was move again at the Brest Arsenal during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.
14. After the Franco-Prussian War it was moved back to the Louvre but was move again to several places such Chateau d’Amboise, Loc-Dieu Abbey, Chateau de Chambord and Ingres Museum.
15. When the painting was stolen on August 21, 1911, the Louvre was closed for an entire week to aid in investigation of the theft.
16. The French poet Guillaume Appollinaire was arrested and jailed but was released due to lack of evidence to prove his guilt. His fiend, the famous painter – Pablo Picasso, was also brought in for questioning but was also freed.
17. It took 2 years to finally capture the real thief – Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of Louvre. He was captured when he tried to sell it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
18. This Italian patriot’s main reason for stealing the painting is that he believed Leonardo's painting should be returned to Italy for display in an Italian museum.
19. The Mona Lisa painting was exhibited all over Italy and returned to Louvre in 1913. Peruggia was hailed for his patriotism and served only 6 months in jail for stealing the painting.
20. Mona Lisa was among the first portraits to depict the sitter before an imaginary landscape and Leonardo was one of the first painters to use aerial perspective.
21. One more thing that makes Mona Lisa uniquely intriguing is the fact that it has no clearly visible eyebrows or eyelashes.
22. The painting had suffered several minor damages especially its frame but was repaired carefully accurately by experts.
23. The painting has had many different decorative frames in its history and had undergone several cleaning, re-varnishing, and touch-up.
24. Another fascinating fact and great manifestation of Mona Lisa’s popularity is that about 6 million people view this masterpiece at the Louvre each year.Visitors generally spend about 15 seconds viewing the Mona Lisa.
25. Mona Lisa was exhibited in New York City and Washington D.C. in the United States from December 1962 to March 1963 for a period of 3 months. It was also exhibited in Moscow and Tokyo in 1974.
26. Mona Lisa is the 5th most expensive painting in the world. Its 1962 price of $100 million is approximately $700 million in 2010.
27. A Mona Lisa smoking a pipe was created by Sapeck in 1883 while Marcel Duchamp created a Mona Lisa with a moustache and a goatee and added the inscription "Elle a chaud au cul" which literally mean "she has a hot ass".
28. Some parts of the painting were damaged in several occasions. The first was in 1956, when the lower part of the painting was severely damaged by a vandal who doused the painting with acid.
29. The second was on December 30, 1956, when a rock was thrown by a young man named Ugo Ungaza Villegas from Bolivia that resulted in the loss of a speck of pigment near the left elbow. The damaged was later painted over.
30. The third attack on the painting occurred in April 1974 at the Tokyo National Museum when a lame woman sprayed red paint at the painting because she was upset by the museum's policy for disabled people. The painting was undamaged.
31. The most recent attack on the painting was on August 2, 2009 when a Russian woman threw a terra cotta mug at the painting because of disappointment when she was denied French citizenship. The mug was purchased at the museum. The painting was undamaged.
32. To avoid further attacks and damages, the painting is now shielded by a bulletproof glass.
33. To avoid future damages, the painting is currently kept under strict, climate-controlled conditions maintaining humidity at 50% ±10%, and temperature between 18 and 21 °C.