Formal Analysis of the Mona Lisa

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Formal Analysis of the Mona Lisa

By | April 2011
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Analysis of the Mona Lisa

Kim Pokladowski
2/20/11

I have always been intrigued with the Mona Lisa, I don’t know why but there is something about her smile and her eyes that captivates me. The realness of the painting and how ordinary the Mona Lisa is the reason why I can look at this painting with great joy, it doesn’t make me think too much, it doesn’t confuse me, the simplicity and the normalcy of this painting is what I enjoy so much. However, after an analysis you can see that the painting isn’t so ordinary. The Leonardo de Vinci used oils to paint his picture. During the 15th century using oils was very common. By using oils Leonardo was able to create a real lifelike painting. Since the oils dry slowly he was probably able to mix and rework all his colors and shading until they were just the right hue and looked perfect. Also the size of the painting has a big impression. At only 30 x 20 7/8 inches it doesn’t stand very tall or wide but the impact of the painting itself is tremendous.  In this painting there is no distinct line. In the painting there is a lot of shading giving the shape and outlines of where the clothing becomes a hand or where the forehead becomes hair. However, it is just like a photograph, you can see where the chin stops and the neck begins, but the lines are subtle and not over exaggerated. The color that de Vinci used seems to make you draw your eye to her face first. The contrast between her soft pale skin against her dark dress catches your eye. You can even notice that the color of her hands is a little darker than the color of her face, I believe which helps draw your attention up and to the center of the picture, her face. Her facial expression is one of the obvious focal points in this painting. It draws a lot of questions to mind. Is she or isn’t she smiling? And if she is smiling what or who is she smiling at? Or is she even looking at anything? It’s almost as if she is at peace and calm. She seems...