The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci has been one of the most famous paintings in the world for years. It was created in the early 16th century and has been copied, imitated, and referred to countless times since then. However, despite the well-documented history of the painting, the way it came to has always remained a mystery.
The legend of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa
Although there’s nothing in Da Vinci’s notes about his inspiration for Mona Lisa. One of history’s most recognizable paintings, and many have wondered if it isn’t actually a portrait of Da Vinci himself. In 2005, writer George Beahm—in his book The Mona Lisa Curse—deduced that Ginevra de Benci was not just an inspiration. But possibly a love interest as well. De Benci lived in 15th-century Florence with her merchant family and appears to be similar in appearance to many of Da Vinci’s other works. In addition, when researchers examined Mona Lisa using infra-red light. They discovered a bearded man behind her, which some suggest is Da Vinci himself.
Why it is so important?
One of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous paintings, La Gioconda (usually known in English as the Mona Lisa), has been a source of inspiration. And intrigue since it first went on display to the public in Paris in 1796. Although we think of it as one of da Vinci’s masterpieces today. At that time it was not well received by many art critics and members of society.
Da Vinci himself painted four versions of La Gioconda which he worked on between 1503 and 1517. But after his first version was unveiled during an exhibition at a palace in Milan it was stolen before daybreak. Almost 300 years later, amid massive worldwide publicity, another version also disappeared from a museum – but only temporarily.
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in history. In 1956, an Italian man managed to break into Paris’s Louvre Museum. And attack Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece with a hammer. Then in 1956, a young man named Julio Salvador Diaz even tried to remove it from its frame by prising off its six-inch-thick (15 centimeters) wooden frame. Luckily for da Vinci fans everywhere—and certainly for art lovers. Both men were caught before they could cause any lasting damage to one of history’s most celebrated pieces of artwork.
The Mona Lisa is not even a portrait. In 1503 Leonardo started to create two versions of that painting. One when he returned from Milan (1495-97) and another in Florence. The Milan version refers to a posthumous copy. The first title of La Gioconda appeared in 1550-60. When it was mentioned by Gian Paolo Lomazzo, while biographer Giorgio Vasari wrote that Leonardo called his work La Gioconda, because, as he said: it seemed to smile at him. Later historians interpreted those words metaphorically. Since at that time it wasn’t clear what kind of smiles Leonardo wanted to depict on his model’s face.
A man dressed as an old woman attacked the painting:
A man disguised as an old woman threw a piece of cake at Mona Lisa in what is being described as a very strange attack. French police are now investigating, having discovered that an alarm was triggered in one of the Louvre Museum’s halls at around 2 am on Monday morning (local time). A man dressed as an old woman in a wheelchair appeared to have thrown cake at one of world-famous Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings, authorities said. No one has been apprehended, and no works were damaged during the incident. According to witnesses, who called the police after noticing something suspicious around Mona Lisa’s glass enclosure. He seemed to be a homeless person looking for food or money from shocked tourists.
Investigation of the incidence:
The man who had arrived in a wheelchair and was wearing lipstick and a wig smeared in red paint managed to pass three security checks at Paris’ Louvre museum before launching his attack on Monday. A gallery worker said she had thought he was just an eccentric visitor. Despite his lack of a wheelchair – after all, art galleries are well known for attracting eccentrics. Then he seized hold of it [the painting] and threw himself against it twice, she told the French newspaper Le Parisien .
The man then punched an employee on duty before being pulled away by other staff. All that was left of his disguise when they finally got him under control were a pair of black sunglasses and a wig. Police later revealed that the man, who has not been named but is in his early 20s, suffers from schizophrenia and claimed to be destroying evil. They added that no damage had been done to Mona Lisa itself or its glass case. The world-famous masterpiece, which is Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work of art and is believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506, has survived numerous attempts on its life over five centuries.
Many of Leonardo’s paintings have been stolen and damaged over time, but none as famous as Mona Lisa. On August 21, 1911, while hanging in Paris’s Louvre Museum, a 21-year-old Italian named Vincenzo Peruggia hid in a broom closet overnight until he was alone with Mona Lisa. He removed it from its frame and walked out of the museum wearing it under his coat. A cleaning lady spotted him trying to leave, so he ran for it. The police were called immediately; meanwhile, Peruggia had tossed his find down a sewer drain so he could be quickly apprehended.
The truth behind why the painting was stolen
In 1911, Italian Vincenzo Peruggia managed to steal La Gioconda, which at that time was believed to be valued at USD 200,000. He kept it hidden in his apartment until two years later when he contacted an art dealer from Florence by going under a fake name and claiming that he knew where it came from. Finally, after receiving payment for showing him where it came from, he brought it to Florence. The theft didn’t make as much noise as anticipated, probably because when Peruggia took La Gioconda away from its usual place in Louvre’s Gallery 10 on August 21st of 1911 nobody noticed. Since nobody realized that it had been stolen for over a year!
Experts looking into restoring the original ‘Mona Lisa’
Currently, conservators are working to restore Da Vinci’s La Gioconda — better known as The Mona Lisa. The oil painting of a young woman with an enigmatic smile has inspired and been referenced in popular culture for centuries, but according to CNN. It has never been restored in such a painstaking way before. The piece hasn’t been cleaned or restored since it went on display at France’s Louvre Museum in 1874 — 146 years ago. And for good reason. We have to work as if we were dealing with an Egyptian mummy, Philippe de Montebello, former director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, told CNN about restoring paintings over time.
The world has been captivated by a portrait of a woman for over 500 years. But why? Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting, Mona Lisa, was painted between 1503 and 1506. More than six feet tall and three feet wide, it captures a woman sitting at her dressing table in front of an open window. Her hair is loose and she wears a red garment with white sleeves that tie across her chest. There is no signature or date on it—making it hard to verify if Leonardo da Vinci really painted it—but history has proven one thing to be true: no matter where you are in your life or what you’re doing when you see Mona Lisa, she instantly stops you in your tracks.
Today, it’s easy to look at a Leonardo da Vinci piece and think that’s so beautiful! But when Mona Lisa was first unveiled, many of those who saw it didn’t agree. Some critics (including da Vinci himself) thought she wasn’t beautiful at all; they called her haggardly and disagreeable. The most famous criticism of all came from one painter in particular. While visiting King Francis I at Fontainebleau in 1518, artist Nicolas Poussin criticized every inch of da Vinci’s masterpiece—from its size to its subject matter. He even criticized Da Vinci for working on a landscape background for such a portrait!
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