Leonardo Da Vinci was born and raised in Italy, where the Mona Lisa was finally painted in 1503. The style of painting has long been cited as the forerunner of numerous styles of art, one of the true masterpieces in the history of the world art.
A description of Mona Lisa
By painting the Mona Lisa, Leonardo rose to another artist station, those that create new forms and perspectives. Mona Lisa’s relatively small painting manages to create one of the most intense and effective art experiences in a compact 30 “by 20 ½” frame. As for the type of paint that the Mona Lisa was originally conceived with, oils were used on the poplar wood panel and have been restored numerous times. In recent years, curators at the Louvre have begun to worry that the painting appears to break down more quickly than in the past.
Leonardo places his model in the middle of the painting, using a pyramid design to center it. The fold of his hands forms the front of the pyramid and he uses the same bright light for his chest, neck, and face. His lighting is important as he uses it to create many of the geometric shapes (circles and spheres) that make up the painting. The form of the painting itself is very simple, a modification of the seated Virgin, a very popular form during the 15th and 16th centuries for portraits.
What does the Mona Lisa mean?
However, he modifies the formula, creating a sense of distance between the nanny and the observer, mainly using the chair in which she rests. Everything in his posture speaks of reserve and silence. However, his eyes silently meet the gaze of the observer, drawing the viewer towards the line of his eyes. Everything around her face is dark, bringing the light on her face and the attraction it provides much more in focus. The overall effect is a kind of natural attraction for her, drawn by her appearance, but immediately contrasted with the distance Leonardo creates between the subject and the observer.
The landscape of painting has long been noted as the first instance of portraiture on landscape. Sitting in the middle of an open loggia with what appear to be pillars on either side of it, a vast landscape stretches out onto an icy mountain range. The curves of her hair and clothes are mimicked in the waves of the landscape and the constant curves in the river and the hills behind her. Therefore, the question has arisen as to whether the Mona Lisa is both a portrait and a representation of an ideal. The harmony between the model and the landscape behind her creates a kind of natural order, all punctuated by the detail of her mouth and that world-famous smile.
For centuries, historians, psychologists, writers, and politicians have tried to come up with their own theories about what the Mona Lisa smile could mean. Freud characterized it as an allusion to an Oedipus complex (he was in love with his mother) in Da Vinci while others have claimed that it is a sign of innocence and calm. The question of why the smile is seen in so many different ways has become almost as important a research topic as the smile itself. There have been scientists who point out the special relationships of the smile and how the human eye captures them. Margaret Livingstone, a Harvard professor, says that painting is most effective when viewed peripherally. The smile is most effective when you look into your eyes, for example.
In 2005, a computer program that analyzes facial expressions for emotional recognition was used to assign “emotional” values to the smile. That show found her 83% happy. Regardless of Da Vinci’s intentions, the Mona Lisa’s smile is one of the most enduring questions in all of art.
Mona Lisa analysis today
Due to the research and attention the Mona Lisa has attracted, more than a few dozen people have tried to recreate it. Hundreds of copies reside in different art galleries around the world, some of which their owners believe are the originals. Recently, an internet phenomenon has emerged where a savvy user of MS Paint was able to make a video showing how to make the Mona Lisa in paint, the free graphics program included with Windows. Copying the Mona Lisa has long been a standard test of an artist’s tenacity and skill.