Who doesn’t know the famous portrait of the Mona Lisa? The painting is perhaps the most famous picture in the world.

There are so many things to say about that painting that a dedicated website has been developed to gather all possible information.

The beginning of the masterpiece

The painting, started in 1503, is an oil on wood panel that measures just. The technique used is sfumato.

Leonardo was a person who wrote anything. From personal ideas, to his fantasies, even to the shopping list.

It is strange, then, to find no clues about the payment for the commissioned painting.

In fact, Leonardo will never deliver it and instead will take it to France during his last stage of life.

He will never complete it, in fact, he continued to work on the painting until his death.

“Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa about 1503, and it was in his studio when he died in 1519. He likely worked on it intermittently over several years, adding multiple layers of thin oil glazes at different times. Small cracks in the paint, called craquelure, appear throughout the whole piece, but they are finer on the hands, where the thinner glazes correspond to Leonardo’s late period.”


The Process

Layer after layer, the features of the woman’s face blend to create a kind of smile.

The ambiguous expressiveness of the painting leaves interpretations open: it seems that happiness, sadness, and tranquility can be read from it at the same time.

Even the background is very particular, presenting two different horizon lines: creating an irregularity between the right and left sides of the woman.

It is believed that there are multiple versions of the same painting, but none of this is really confirmed.

Raphael himself made a copy from life, visiting Leonardo’s studio

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The Two Mona Lisas

In modern times, the painting greatly increased in importance, especially because of a theft that caused quite a stir. An Italian stole the painting and brought it back to Italy out of patriotism, only then trying to sell it to an important collector.

Newspapers around the world talked about it, thus amplifying the fame of the work.

The painting has suffered severe degradation. Some important cracks have appeared on the painting, forcing a technical team to perform very delicate interventions to preserve its color and integrity.

Paris 20130809 Mona Lisa room

The Room where Mona Lisa is Kept

The work today is kept in a case with constant temperature and humidity.