Leonardo Da Vinci’s is one of the most famous paintings of all time. This oil on canvas painting is a half-length portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
The Mona Lisa is considered an Italian Renaissance masterpiece.
The Mona Lisa title comes from the famed art historian Giorgio Vasari’s biography of Da Vinci. “Monna” is an Italian way of politely referring to a respected lady (akin to the English and American usage of “Madam”).
The sitter’s enigmatic expression is one of the most admired and debated aspects of art in the history of human creativity. Despite this, the bold statuesque composition, atmospheric background and subtle treatment of the human form are also all topics of intense scholarly debate.
The woman in the painting bears a strong likeness to many renaissance depictions of the Virgin Mary. She folds her arms and fixes her gaze firmly on the viewer, creating a remarkable impression of personality and life.
The unusually vivid “lifelike” appearance is down to Leonardo’s pioneering use of “sfumato”. This is a technique of soft blending that creates an ambiguous mood closer to our real experience of observing the world than traditional strong artistic outlines. It is particularly evident (employed with great skill) at the corner of the woman’s mouth and eyes.
In a similarly groundbreaking manner, the Mona Lisa was one of the first works to depict a sitter in an entirely imaginary landscape. The observant viewer will note winding paths and distant bridges, receding to icy mountains in the far distance. The horizon is at the same level as the sitter’s eyes, linking her with the enigmatic scene and further emphasizing the mystery surrounding the artwork.
Many art lovers ask “why was the Mona Lisa painted?”. There are conflicting views on Da Vinci’s inspirations, but we know Lisa Gherardini’s husband commissioned the artist to paint her portrait.
There is little information about Lisa’s life, but they were a noble family of silk merchants, hailing from Florence and Tuscany. Commissioned to decorate their new home, the portrait also celebrated the birth of the couple’s second son, Andrea. Leonardo da Vinci chose to present Lisa with her hands in that position, to demonstrate her commitment to virtue, and her loyalty to her husband.
What is surprising however, is that Leonardo Da Vinci never actually gave the painting to the Giocondo family. He instead bequeathed it in his will to one of his apprentices, Salaì. Francis I of France purchased the Mona Lisa painting at a later date.
Ever since its ownership by the French crown and state, the painting has been on permanent display for the public. It is on display at the Louvre in Paris. The Mona Lisa dimensions are just 77cm by 53cm and surprisingly small to many visitors.
Despite its small size, the Mona Lisa original painting has survived in a remarkably high state of preservation. Curators have never undertaken a full restoration, although an “aggressive” 1809 cleaning and revarnishing process removed some of the uppermost paint layer. The Mona Lisa is one of the most expensive paintings of all time, with a barely “washed-out” appearance seen today.
Valued at around $870 million, the Mona Lisa is one of the most expensive paintings of all time. Today even a Mona Lisa reproduction sells for staggering amounts. Indeed, one replica (created by a follower of Da Vinci) recently sold for over $300,000.
Art reproductions of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci are created in our own Studio by one of our specialist and professional artists.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, or just Leonardo da Vinci, was a 15th and 16th century Italian artist, sculptor, inventor, architect, author and engineer. Leonardo da vinci genius of art and science is recognized universally as one of the most supremely talented individuals in history. The term Renaissance Man and Da Vinci are synonymous.
Leonard da Vinci two most famous paintings are The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. They are both iconic works of art of the Renaissance Movement.
Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is also known as La Gioconda, and is in fact a portrait of Lisa Gherardini. The portrait was completed during the period 1503 to 1519 at a time when da Vinci was living in Florence. It is a fairly small painting, measuring just 30 in × 21”.
In 1911 the Mona Lisa made headlines all over the world when it was stolen from The Louvre Museum in Paris. It was some two years before the painting was finally recovered, having been stolen by an Italian petty thief who had worked at the Louvre for a short period. The thief claimed that he believed the painting rightfully belonged in Italy and in fact he only served a relatively short prison sentence.
In December 1913 Da Vinci’s La Gioconda was returned to the Louvre where the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile is viewed by an estimated 6 million people a year.
da Vinci’s The Last Supper is a mural painting which sits at the end wall of the Convent of Milan’s Santa Maria delle Grazie and tells the story of The Last Supper with the Twelve Apostles, when Jesus told them that he would be betrayed by one of them.
The Last Supper measures 180 x 350” and was completed around 1496. By 1978 the painting required substantial restoration and a 21 year project was unveiled to the general public in 1999. The restoration was not without controversy as there were substantial changes in tones and color. Senior art critics have expressed their displeasure at some of the changes to the facial features and to the arm of Christ.
In September 2017, Da Vinci’s painting of Jesus in renaissance clothing, entitled Salvator Mundi was sold for $450 million by Christies in New York. This set a record as the highest price ever paid for a work of art.
Since the sale, The Salvator Mundi has also been hitting the headlines as its authenticity is probed and questioned. The painting is believed to have been purchased by Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and it has not been publicly unveiled since the sale.
Whether The Salvator Mundi is entirely Leonardo da Vinci’s own work, or whether it was painted in major part by Leonardo’s assistants, the fact remains that the face of Christ has all of the haunting and enigmatic hallmarks of the Mona Lisa and its fascinating history will continue to attract speculation for the foreseeable future.
Would you like to own a Mona Lisa oil painting reproduction?
The da Vinci oil painting of The Mona Lisa is offered in many size options. An oversize version can be viewed on our Finished Oil Paintings page.
A da Vinci replica of The Mona Lisa is just one of the many art reproductions on canvas offered in our online catalog of reproductions of famous paintings.
Leonardo da Vinci reproductions are created by our own in-house professional artists who are experts in producing museum quality famous renaissance portrait paintings.
Please view our selection of Leonardo da Vinci famous paintings here.
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Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.