Who is Mona Lisa?
The Mona Lisa is a half-length portrait painting by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is kept in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. It is the most famous and expensive painting in the world.
But What makes the Mona Lisa so special? Is it just a painting of a woman in black dressing or is the painter trying to say something else?
There are no visible brush strokes. The genius Leonardo painted the painting in one stroke without any corrections. The only overpainting is on Mona Lisa’s left hand. The woman is wearing black without any jewellery and appearing to be mourning. Her smile is so mysterious and the great artist did not paint any eyelashes or eyebrows. Is this painting not a portrait but an imagination of Leonardo da Vinci?
To solve the mystery of Mona Lisa, the Louvre Museum studied the painting using modern scientific methods. There are many theories, but only 2 of them seem to have proof. The problem is that both of them contradict with each other.
According to the biographer, Giorgio Vasari, the portrait is of Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of the Florentine silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo. He commissioned the piece to Leonardo in 1503. This contradicts with the tale of chronicler Antonio, who says that Leonardo was commissioned by Giuliano de’ Medici in 1517.
Vasari also worked in Florence. He has penned the biographies of many artists from the renaissance. In Leonardo’s biography, he has written that the painting was commissioned for Lisa del Giocondo. It’s from this book, the painting got its name. Francesco del Giocondo was wealthy but not a part of Florence’s elite. Leonardo would only take a commission from the people of the elite society.
In frame – Mona Lisa, A Modern Approach.
But Who is Mona Lisa, really?
Even if Leonardo took a commission from Francesco del Giocondo, there is no record of any such painting in the accounts of the merchant. In Leonardo, there is no such commission from Francesco. In the biography, Vasari speaks of the Mona Lisa’s eyelashes and brows, whereas there the original painting does not have any eyelashes or brows. Vasari never saw the Mona Lisa. The painting described by Vasari is either lost or never finished.
According to Antonio, da Vinci painted an imagined portrait of Pacifica Brandani, de’ Medici’s mistress, with whom he had an illegitimate son. Pacifica Brandani died during the birth of the child. The Mona Lisa portrait was commissioned to Leonardo by Juiliano del Medici to comfort his son by gifting him his mother’s portrait. In those days, Leonardo was working for the Medicis. Here, Leonardo was also an illegitimate child, recognized by his father. This inspired Leonardo to paint a painting of his mother.
Mona Lisa is actually a portrait of Leonardo’s mother. It is an imaginary figure of how his mother would be like. The warmth in Mona Lisa’s eyes and the soft smile shows the loving way of how a mother is looking at her child.
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