The Mona Lisa


Maria Ruiz, Staff Writer

Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting is the Mona Lisa. Usually when you ask a friend or family member what paintings Leonardo da Vinci made they reply with Mona Lisa.

Stolen and Vandalized 

Leonardo da Vinci completed the Mona Lisa in 1503, approximately 518 years old. In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen by an Italian Louvre employee. This painting has been vandalized 4 times. In 1956 with acid, 1974 with red paint, and in 2009, a woman threw a terracotta mug at the painting. Today the painting is safely located at The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. You can take an online tour on the Louvre Museum and see the painting itself.

Different Versions

Through research, there are actually two different Mona Lisa paintings worked on at different times, with one version being begun in 1503 and left unfinished, and the Louvre Mona Lisa being begun after 1513. There have been multiple versions of the painting such as the Isleworth Mona Lisa, which had been hidden in a Swiss bank vault for 40 years before being shown to the public in 2012. During January 2012 Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain announced that it had discovered and almost fully restored a copy of the painting by a pupil of Leonardo. The Vernon Mona Lisa is particularly interesting because it was originally part of the collection at the Louvre.

The Smile

Mona Lisa’s smile comes and goes. This has been a reoccurring subject because her smile is “sfumato.” “Sfumato” is an Italian word for blurry, ambiguous and up to the imagination. According to German researchers at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, writing in the journal Scientific Reports, say that the Mona Lisa is indeed smiling. Some people may say she is frowning and that is why it is a reoccurring subject when discussing this work of art.

Do you see the Mona Lisa as a fascinating work of art? Does she smile at you? If you enjoy famous art, sculptures, and more information about the Mona Lisa, go to the Louvre Museum website and browse.