Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mona Lisa Is Just a Painting. Isn't it?

Mona Lisa is just a painting. Isn't it. Or is it something more? Is there a certain mystery about it that make certain people obsessed with it?
 Photo Wikipedia.

    Do you ever wonder why so many people are fascinated with the Mona Lisa? After all, it is just a painting and nothing more. In fact, it is a painting of a rather plain and ordinary woman. Some say that it is the painter himself, Leonard Da Vinci. If so, so what? Does it really matter? Not to me it doesn’t. I saw the Mona Lisa up close, or as close to as possible seeing how it is enclosed in bullet proof glass to protect it from the masses that visit each day at the Louvre Museum in Paris, potential thieves etc. So, again I ask, why are so many so fascinated with a painting of a rather plain looking ordinary woman from hundreds of years ago? Is it the fascination that no one knows who she was? Is it the fascination that it maybe Da Vinci himself? I don’t get it. Do you? 

Mona Lisa behind bullet proof glass at Paris' Louvre Musuem: By Cayetano -, CC BY-SA 2.0,

     Today the Mona Lisa is considered the most famous painting in the world but until the 20th century, Mona Lisa was one among many and not the "most famous painting" as it is now termed. “The Mona Lisa is widely considered the greatest portrait of all time. It appears in countless advertisements, has inspired poetry, sculpture, forgeries, and theft. But seriously, why? The painting is small, only 30 x 21 inches, the color is somber, the background seems desolate and eerie, and the subject isn't anyone historically significant.” (You tube video Mona Lisa-Why So Famous?)

    According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Mona Lisa is an oil painting on a poplar wood panel by the Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer Leonardo da Vinci, probably the world’s most-famous painting. It was painted sometime between 1503 and 1506, when Leonardo was living in Florence, and it now hangs in the Louvre, in Paris, where it remains an object of pilgrimage in the 21st century. The poplar panel shows evidence of warping and was stabilized in 1951 with the addition of an oak frame and in 1970 with four vertical braces. Dovetails also were added, to prevent the widening of a small crack visible near the center of the upper edge of the painting. The sitter’s mysterious smile and her unproven identity have made the painting a source of ongoing investigation and fascination.

    At least a dozen excellent replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, many of them by the master’s students. The proliferation of Mona Lisas reflects, at least in part, the subject’s almost immediate embodiment of the ideal woman—beautiful, enigmatic, receptive, and still just out of reach.

     Over the centuries this quintessential woman has taken on a new life in popular culture. In the 20th century alone, her iconic status was mocked in schoolboy fashion—the addition of a mustache and goatee to a postcard reproduction—in Marcel Duchamp’s readymade, L.H.O.O.Q. (1919). His irreverent defacing of this best known of iconic paintings expressed the Dadaists’ scorn for the art of the past, which in their eyes was part of the infamy of a civilization that had produced the horrors of the First World War just ended. Andy Warhol too took aim at the painting’s status, in his 1963 serigraph Mona Lisa.

     Mona Lisa has also been the subject in music. References in the visual arts have been complemented by musical examinations. La Giaconda’s personality and quirks were examined in a 1915 opera by Max von Schillings. Leonardo’s portrait is also the inspiration for the classic song “Mona Lisa” by American lyricist Ray Evans and songwriter Jay Harold Livingston. There even exists the Mona Lisa foundation which strictly exists for the Mona Lisa, and celebrating Da Vinci’s earlier version of the painting

    Mona Lisa is a painting by Leonard Da Vinci. He has painted many works, but the world remains fixated on this one. True, it is a work of art. But is it really worth all the hype thrust upon it? Don't get me wrong. I'm a big art lover. I love to draw, but I'm not good enough to be called an artist, and never claimed to be. I love going to art galleries and admiring other's works of arts. I just don’t think there is anything special about Mona Lisa, but that is just my opinion. What’s yours? What do you think of the Mona Lisa? Do you feel that it deserves to be elevated to a position of near idolatry, or is it just another painting for you? Let’s talk…. 

For more information about “Mona Lisa”

Mona Lisa: Why So Famous? Watch the YouTube Video:

The Mona Lisa - by Leonardo Da Vinci: 

The Mona Lisa Foundation:

UPDATE: 3/10/17:

Do you love art? I do. I'm now a proud sponsor of the  Leonardo da Vinci page on artsy. The Leonard da Vinci page provides visitors with Da Vinci's bio, over 15 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Da Vinci exhibition listings. 
The Last Supper
Recognize the Last Supper painted by da Vinci?

The da Vinci page also includes related artists and categories, allowing viewers to discover art beyond our Da Vinci page. Click here to view it:

     "Art is never finished, only abandoned"
     -Leonardo Da Vinci

  That’s it for this time. Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book. Review it. Share it. Pass it along.

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S.J. Francis

    In Shattered Lies: "Good and bad, it's All About Family."  Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at on-line retailers and independent booksellers. “Some secrets should remain that way.” 

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