Mona Lisa (also known as Lisa de Giocondo) is a 16th century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance. The work is owned by the French government and hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a woman whose expression is often described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the sitter's expression, the monumentality of the half-figure composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the painting's continuing fascination. Few other works of art have been subject to as much scrutiny, study, mythologizing and parody.

Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 (during the Italian Renaissance) and, according to Vasari, "after he had lingered over it four years, left it unfinished...." He is thought to have continued to work on it for three years after he move
d to France and to have finished it shortly before he died in 1519. Leonardo took the painting from Italy to France in 1516 when King François I invited the painter to work at the Clos Lucé near the king's castle in Amboise. Most likely through the heirs of Leonardo's assistant Salai, the king bought the painting for 4,000 écus and kept it at Fontainebleau, where it remained until given to Louis XIV. Louis XIV moved the painting to the Palace of Versailles.

After the French Revolution, it was moved to the Louvre. Napoleon had it moved to his bedroom in the Tuileries Palace; later it was returned to the Louvre. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) it was moved from the Louvre to a hiding place elsewhere in France. Mona Lisa was not well known until the mid-19th century when artists of the emerging Symbolist movement began to appreciate it, and associated it with their ideas about feminine mystique. Critic Walter Pater, in his 1867 essay on Leonardo, expressed this view by describing the figure in the painting as a kind of mythic embodiment of eternal femininity, who is "older than the rocks among which she sits" and who "has been dead many times and learned the secrets of the grave."

Although the sitter has traditionally been identified as Lisa de Giocondo, a lack of definitive evidence had long fueled alternative theories, including the possibility that Leonardo used his own likeness. However, on January 14, 2008, German academics of Heidelberg University made public a finding that corroborates the traditional identification: dated notes scribbled into the margins of a book by its owner on October 1503 established Lisa de Giocondo as the model for the painting. Other aspects of the painting that have been subject to speculation are the original size of the painting, whether there were other versions of it, and various explanations for how the effect of an enigmatic smile was achieved.

In a National Geographic presentation titled "Testing The Mona Lisa" it was deduced, after rigorous assessment, that the figure depicted in the painting might be maternal, or pregnant. It was found, after extensive infrared reflectography, that Lisa herself had a haze around her clothing indictative of a guarnello, the attire worn by pregnant women. Another theory proposed by various health professionals was that Leonardo's representation of her hands as slightly 'large' was further indicative of Lisa's pregnancy. Conversely, as many scholars or persons suggest, this representation is merely a stylistic concept of beauty exemplified by numerous Renaissance painters, including Leonardo himself.

100 Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy

Pic Source:,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched.jpg

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