The Mona Lisa Painting Facts

Facts About the World’s Most Popular Painting

Although it is the world’s most recognizable painting, the Mona Lisa has an incredibly storied past that not many of us know about. The Painting has a fascinating history to it that not many of us know about that we at Jerry’s thought it might be fun to share.

So here are some fun, fascinating and even surprising facts about the Mona Lisa!

Image source: The Mona Lisa, 

  • Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa from 1503 to 1506, but was considered incomplete by Da Vinci until 1516. Da Vinci was never paid for the painting and it never made it to it’s intended client.
  • The woman in the painting is thought to be Lisa Gherandini Giocondo who was about 25 at the time of the painting.
  • Her husband, Francesco del Giocondo was a wealthy cloth merchant in Florence who never received his painting.
  • Da Vinci never signed or dated his most famous painting.
  • The Mona Lisa was bought in 1530 by Francis I, the king of France for viewings by only the upper class.
  • The Mona Lisa was painted with oil paints on a poplar wood panel and measures 30 in tall by 20 in wide.
  • Although the Mona Lisa currently resides in the Louvre Museum in France, the painting has never been insured as it is considered priceless.
  • Despite not being insured, the painting was once stolen in 1911 by an employee of the Louvre, Vincenzo Peruggia who carried the painting out under his smock . The painting was not returned until 1913, two years later when Vincenzo tried to sell the painting in Florence!
  • Surprisingly, Peruggia only received a short jail sentence for stealing the Mona Lisa because he claimed the crime as a “patriotic” crime for Italy.
  • Now, over 6 million people visit the Mona Lisa every year at the Louvre in Paris, France.
  • If you look carefully at the forehead of the Mona Lisa, you might notice that she doesn’t have any eye brows! No, this wasn’t a mistake by Da Vinci, it was actually due to deterioration over time and overzealous restorers. With today’s technology, it takes a megapixel scanner to see the hint of eyebrows that Da Vinci originally included.
  • The Mona Lisa currently sits behind bulletproof glass as a result of repeated things being thrown at it including stones, acid, and even a coffee mug!
  • The bulletproof glass was donated by Japan as a gift after it was exhibited in the Tokyo National Museum attracting over 2 million visitors in 1974.
  • There is some confusion surrounding the name of the Mona Lisa. It was originally named the Mia Donna Lisa (meaning My Lady Lisa), but was shortened to the Monna Lisa. Due to a simple spelling error, in English it was accidentally called the Mona Lisa and has been called that ever since in English.
  • The painting is as famous as it is partially because it shows off a revolutionary new technique discovered by Leonardo Da Vinci. This technique is called Sfumato and is defined as “the blending of light and shade.”
  • Marcel DuChamp’s most famous piece of artwork to this day is a postcard with a picture of the Mona Lisa on which he painted a mustache and goatee.
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