The most famous woman in the history of human existence. Yet, there is a never-ending debate on if she ever actually existed. Only her creator knew. Considered one the greatest paintings ever created, Mona Lisa has been the most easily recognisable face for hundreds of years. She is the creation of the greatest inquisitive mind, Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci.
Mona Lisa has been resting at the Louvre for over a century now. Though she does not move very much, she charms art and history lovers from all over the world. Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile has had an abundance of admirers. The Louvre mailbox has been flooded with love letters and romantic poetry dedicated to Mona Lisa. Mona Lisa is the most written, talked and sung about piece of artwork. When you see her up close, battling your way through the crowd at the Louvre, you see that it is indeed a beautiful painting, a true testament to technique and dedication. But there is so much more going on with that painting.
Mona Lisa captures your attention like no other. Women in paintings from this era never had a similar bold pose, never devoid of gaudy attire. But Leonardo wanted admirers to focus on her beauty, hence she adorns herself in something rustic. Standing in front of her, first you notice her piercing eyes and how they follow you around, unwavering. Then your gaze drops down to her smile, and in a moment, you are spell-bound. Wait, is she even smiling? Or smirking? Or is that an irritating smug? You carefully read her features, and realize that it is an illusion. All of it. Her smile comes and goes as you look at her beneath different lighting conditions. This was achieved through the ‘Sfumato’ and ‘Chiaroscuro’ techniques invented by Da Vinci, to breathe life into Mona Lisa.
Considering all of that, it is not hard to imagine that Mona Lisa would ultimately drive a few mortals insane. Like the 19th century artist Luc Maspero, who jumped out of window. On a note left behind, Luc wrote about how he spent years ogling at Mona Lisa’s smile, which has left him bewildered.
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Leonardo Da Vinci, perhaps, was her first and most faithful lover. As the story goes, King François I of France, offered Leonardo a position in his court, for which he had to move from Italy to France. By then Leonardo was well off and in his 60s, considered a master of numerous pieces of artwork. The only items he brought with himself were a few sketchbooks and Mona Lisa.
She is still here. She sits quietly smiling at onlookers, protected, out of reach of her lovers, yet never out of their minds and hearts.
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