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The Mona Lisa

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The Mona Lisa, is it just a piece of artwork, or one of the best pieces of artwork in the history of art?
The Mona Lisa was painted in the early 16th century by one of the most widely known artist at that time, Leonardo Da Vinci. It is said that the painting is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini the wife of Francesco Del Giocondo, but also could be portrayed as Da Vinci himself in female form. Researchers claim that Da Vinci used mathematical equations to create the painting such as, the golden triangle, golden ratio, golden rectangle, as well as many more. The golden rules of mathematics incorporated in the painting made it possible for Da Vinci to paint the half-length portrait, which allowed him to position half of a person to fill the whole wooden board. The true facts behind the painting are still unknown to this day.
The Mona Lisa has been a very important piece of artwork for centuries and is very common in todays’ society. It took Da Vinci many years to finish, due to the details of the whole painting from the background, to the shading of the veil that is worn on her head. He carried the Mona Lisa everywhere he traveled, because he had a more emotional attachment to the piece and it symbolized sentimental value to him, also giving him more time to work on the portrait. Art historians believe there is a real “Da Vinci Code” within the painting itself, because when the image is highly magnified you can see a mixture of numbers and letters imbedded throughout the painting, such as “LV” in the right pupil of the eye, also this technique was discovered in many other paintings Da Vinci completed throughout his years of being an artist. Art historians believe that Da Vinci used this code in order to express himself through paintings. It has become a symbol of the renaissance era of art work. The painting has stood the test of time with it being over 500 years old and still in good condition. Da Vinci was one of the first painters to use the half-length portrait technique, which is only half of the body is painted and positioned in the frame to make the person look as if they have no bottom half to their body. Many artists were afraid of using such techniques, because people did not think it looked right. Da Vinci changed people’s views on the half-length portrait paintings, which lead to opportunities for painters to try new painting styles. Da Vinci was also a master of sfumato. It refers to using a smoky haze to allow shadows to appear and form in a natural way, allowing the painting to look life like. The shading around the smile and the eyes was painted to make people ponder, what she was thinking when she was being painted. He also was a master at illuminating his work, by painting thin layers of paint over layers of paint to give it a glowing effect, which is also exhibited on the paintings face.
The smile and the eyes are the portrait’s most notorious pieces because nobody knows whether she is smiling or being serious, and has been a mystery for many years. The details that surround the smile and the corners of the eyes are what someone eyes are mostly drawn to, very few pieces of artwork has the capability to draw people’s attention to a specific detail like the Mona Lisa does. Da Vinci painted the eyes in such a way, that no matter where you stand or look at the painting the eyes follow you as if they are looking at you, giving her a mischievous look about her.
Over the hundreds of years the Mona Lisa has been a target of theft and many cases of vandalism. In the early 1900’s the piece of art was stolen by an Italian man from a French museum, with the intention to return the painting to Italy where Da Vinci was originally from, and kept hidden for two years before it was found again. After it was stolen it took nearly a week before anyone realized it was missing, because the museum workers thought that it was just moved so the area that it set could be cleaned. The Italian man that stole the painting had more intentions with the painting then just to return it to Italy. He also was making copies of the original painting and selling them on the black market. A humorous amount of people have tried to burn, paint, and cut the painting. A handicapped woman who was upset by the museums policy for the handicapped tried to spray paint the Mona Lisa, but was unable to because of the case around the painting.
Some people may argue that the Mona Lisa is indeed not the greatest piece of artwork in history because it is just a painting of an unknown person with no significant purpose. However, some feel that Michelangelo’s other works of art like the Sistine Chapel or Statue of David is superior to the Mona Lisa and should be given more attention. Nonetheless, neither one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces compare to the smallest amount of detail that the Mona Lisa has throughout. There is also no mystery behind the other works of art, as for who they are or what their meaning for creation was. Other popular art creations have not had books written about them and as well as multiple movies. On the other hand the Mona Lisa has had one popular book “The Da Vinci Code” written by Dan Brown which was made into a movie also. Along with the books there have been movies such as “The Mona Lisa Smile,” and “Angles and Demons”. Media attention really grabbed the viewers, thus resulting in more knowledge of the piece and more people willing to travel to Musée du Louvre in Paris just to view and learn more about the masterpiece.
I feel the Mona Lisa is one of the best pieces of artwork ever created. The story behind the painting is amazing everything it has been through and it still is a complete masterpiece. Along with the mystery that goes with the Mona Lisa that still has art historians puzzled and has them investigating the painting to this day. The techniques that Da Vinci used in the Mona Lisa are rarely seen anywhere which makes this piece significant. As time ages the Mona Lisa the popularity will continue to grow and it will be an important piece of art forever.

Work Cited
"Mona Lisa." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 06 Oct. 2011. Web. 07 Oct. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa>.
"Treasures of the World | Mona Lisa." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 05 Oct. 2011. <http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/mona_nav/main_monafrm.html>.
"Why Is the Mona Lisa so Famous?" International Business News, Financial News, Market News, Politics, Forex, Commodities - International Business Times - IBTimes.com. 07 Sept. 2011. Web. 05 Oct. 2011. <http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/210129/20110907/mona-lisa-why-is-it-so-famous-smile-leonardo-da-vinci.htm>.
Scailliérez, Cécile. "Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Del Giocondo." Paintings : Italian Painting. Web. 05 Oct. 2011. <http://www.louvre.fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_notice.jsp?CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226503&CURRENT_LLV_NOTICE%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226503&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=9852723696500816&bmLocale=en>.

Cited: "Mona Lisa." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 06 Oct. 2011. Web. 07 Oct. 2011. &lt;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa&gt;. "Treasures of the World | Mona Lisa." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 05 Oct. 2011. &lt;http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/mona_nav/main_monafrm.html&gt;. "Why Is the Mona Lisa so Famous?" International Business News, Financial News, Market News, Politics, Forex, Commodities - International Business Times - IBTimes.com. 07 Sept. 2011. Web. 05 Oct. 2011. &lt;http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/210129/20110907/mona-lisa-why-is-it-so-famous-smile-leonardo-da-vinci.htm&gt;. Scailliérez, Cécile. "Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Del Giocondo." Paintings : Italian Painting. Web. 05 Oct. 2011. &lt;http://www.louvre.fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_notice.jsp?CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226503&amp;CURRENT_LLV_NOTICE%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673226503&amp;FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=9852723696500816&amp;bmLocale=en&gt;.

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