Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda or La Joconde) is a 16th century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance period. The painting is owned by the Government of France and is exhibited in the Louvre museum in Paris, France with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
The interesting aspect about the painting has been the style in which the painter has painted her. Leonardo used a style called the sfumato technique – light and shade that allow one form to blend in with another leaving something to the imagination. He did this to the corners of Mona Lisa’s mouth and eyes which explains why she may look different at different times. The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a woman whose expression is often described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the subject’s expression and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the painting’s continuing fascination.
The smile of Mona Lisa which is the most talked about feature in the painting was the standard repertoire of painters in the late 1400s and early 1500s. In addition, the Mona Lisa’s smile also matches contemporary ideas of a woman’s smile. The beauty of a woman lies in her modest smile.
The painting’s fame was further enhanced when it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. The painting was thought to be lost forever and it was almost two years later that it was found again. The painting is now protected by a bullet proof glass to prevent any further attacks that may damage this precious painting.