20 interesting facts about Mona Lisa

Posted on May 29, 2022      48

“Mona Lisa” in the exhibition hall in the Louvre

1. The face of the woman in the Mona Lisa portrait seems strange because her eyebrows are missing. In fact, they were originally there, but they were accidentally “removed” because of an unsuccessful restoration, and they did not dare to restore, so as not to cause more damage to the priceless picture.

2. The Mona Lisa was painted on a board, not a canvas. However, in the anti-utopia film “Equilibrium” shows how people burn this picture, and there you can clearly see how the canvas burns. The makers of “Equilibrium” probably didn’t know that the canvas wasn’t there and never was.

3. The full title of the painting is “Portrait of Madame Lisa del Giocondo”, so it is sometimes referred to simply as “Gioconda.” Its author is Leonardo da Vinci, and this painting is one of his most famous works.

4. “The Mona Lisa” is so cleverly painted that the person looking at the painting always seems as if the woman painted on it is looking right at him. Even if one steps aside, this effect persists.

5. The most common theory is that the painting is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, the daughter of a wealthy Florentine silk merchant. However, some scholars doubt this version, suggesting other theories. In particular, there is the opinion that the Mona Lisa is actually a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci himself, but as a woman.

The original Mona Lisa

6. Age “Mona Lisa” is already over 500 years, she was painted in the early XVI century. The painting is already cracked and the paint on it is very fragile, so it has long been removed from the exhibitions, even the most prestigious. In addition, from the age it is noticeably darkened.

7. The Mona Lisa was created in Florence, but for most of its history, it remains in France. Now it is kept in Paris, in the Louvre, the former residence of the French kings, turned into a museum.

8. In the past, the painting was wider than it is now, but at some point its sides were cut off. This came to light after old reproductions of the Mona Lisa were found, which show how the painting originally looked.

9. Now the Mona Lisa is the most expensive painting in the world. It is insured for $3 billion! Apparently, if the painting is lost or stolen, the company insuring it has a good chance to go bankrupt.

10. At the beginning of the last century, the Mona Lisa was known only to art connoisseurs and not to the public. However, in 1911 it was stolen by a Louvre employee, Vincenzo Peruggia. In order to recover the painting, France even closed its borders and launched a massive search.

11. One suspect in the theft's case of the “Mona Lisa” was even the famous painter Pablo Picasso. Of course, no charges were brought against him, and later it became known that he had nothing to do with it.

12. The stolen painting was found two years later in Italy, when the thief, Peruggia, responded to a newspaper ad and expressed a desire to sell the painting to one of the Italian museums. Opinions about Perugia were divided - some Italians praised the kidnapper for returning the painting to its historical homeland. In the end he was convicted of the theft after all, but sentenced to a brief time in prison.

13. The whole thing about the theft made the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world. It was stolen in August 1911, and the event remained front-page news until it was superseded by the news of the Titanic disaster in April 1912.

14. In 1956, the painting was damaged twice by visitors - one of them poured acid on the lower part of the canvas and the other threw a stone at it and damaged the paint on the painting. After that, the Mona Lisa was hidden behind thick armored glass, capable of withstanding even a shot from a firearm.

15. The smile of the “Gioconda” is one reason for the halo of mystery surrounding the picture. If you look directly into the face of the portrait, it seems to smile, but as soon as you take your eyes slightly aside, the smile disappears.

Vincenzo Peruggia, the man who stole the Mona Lisa

16. The Louvre has a separate room for the Mona Lisa, with no other works of art in it. And to install a security system in the hall, the museum spent about 7 million euros.

17. Napoleon Bonaparte, proclaiming himself emperor, took the “Mona Lisa” from the Louvre and hung it in his bedroom. However, later he himself returned the priceless picture back.

18. During the Second World War, when France was occupied by Germany, the “Mona Lisa” was evacuated, and the Germans have not found her, despite all efforts. Information about where the picture was hidden for three years has not been disclosed to this day.

19. The woman in the portrait originally looked different. A study of the painting with the help of modern technology helped to establish that Leonardo da Vinci reworked the canvas twice, probably trying to improve it and bring it to perfection.

20. Usually artists sign their works, but da Vinci left no date or signature on the Mona Lisa. There is no mention of the painting even in his diaries, although several other historical documents attest to the fact that it was he who worked on it, and his authorship is incontrovertible.