“As art may imitate nature, she does not appear to be painted, but truly of flesh and blood. On looking closely at the pit of her throat, one could swear that the pulses were beating”.
-Giorgio Vasari on Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa, the painting by Leonardo da Vinci which currently sits in Paris’ Louvre Museum, has been considered as an amazingly beautiful painting. The composition is known for grabbing the attention of historians of all times. Undeniably, it still captures the attention of art enthusiasts. With new innovations in science, philosophy, artistry and technology, researchers are trying to find out more about the painting. However, even today, when thousands of visitors circle around the small-sized painting, they get really curious as to why this ordinary woman, dressed so ordinarily in black robes, has received and is still receiving so much attention. This urges them to inquire about why this painting is famous as the reason stands ambiguous.
Some researchers claim that this painting was given to the King of France, Francis Ⅰ, by Leonardo da Vinci, after which it became a royal painting until the French Revolution. It is believed that this painting went missing for two years or was supposedly made to appear like that. However, eventually, it was put in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. So, one of the reasons that made the painting so famous was the missing tale revolving around the painting. However, there were some sections of the population who were rather intrigued and impressed by the painting itself and by its inherent characteristics.
Those who love the painting attribute this to Leonardo’s diverse areas of interest and his artistry in areas like painting, sculpting, anatomy, music, engineering, cartography and many others. Leonardo’s diverse skills rendered him the ability to employ these interests collectively in order to have a wholesome idea about the size, colours, layers, measurements and perspectives. There are areas of high precision and intricacies in the painting, but there are equally soft areas with light strokes and much less depth. As a modern beholder, one takes all these beautiful facets of Mona Lisa quite granted as something which one finds in every other painting. However, if one looks at it from a sixteenth century individual’s perspective, the painting tells a different tale and indisputably speaks for its fame.
Whether it is the mysterious smile that seems to restrict and widen the perspective or the gaze that follows the beholder, the fact is that every aspect of Mona Lisa calls attention. This is exactly what led researchers to delve into certain prominent aspects of the painting, like the hair, the smile, eyes, etc. However, modern researchers have come up with quite interesting studies which are completely removed from the conventional ideas. French scientist Pascal Cotte said that he discovered a hidden picture under the superficial portrait of Mona Lisa through the layer amplification technique. Although many do not believe Cotte’s analysis of Mona Lisa, it still stands as a popular theory.
There are a lot of theories that revolve around the painting. Some are related to the painting itself, while others go to the extent of including external influences on the painting. One such theory about the identity of the woman in Mona Lisa states that the painter, Leonardo, painted his self-portrait in the form of a woman. There is another theory which tries to build up facts to prove that the woman in the painting is none other than Lisa Giocondo, Francesco Giocondo’s wife. There are other theories too which may appear rather hilarious to 21st century audience. According to a theory, the woman in the painting is Leonardo’s mother, who was a Chinese slave. Quite recently, in 2010, a doctor went to such an extent as to state that Mona Lisa appears to have “build up fatty acids under the skin” and a tumour in her right eye.
One might therefore wonder that it is the mysterious identity which makes Mona Lisa open to interpretations and thereby keeps its authenticity still alive. Had the researchers come up with concrete evidence, Mona Lisa would have lost its mystifying appeal. It is therefore undeniable that Mona Lisa is a brilliant artwork, but one must remember that the circumstances revolving around it is equally contributing to its fame.
Picture Credits : express.co.uk