The Mona Lisa, by the famous artist, Leonardo da Vinci is so admired mostly because of its unique history. It is known as one of the most recognizable works of art. It is an oil painting of a woman seated against an imaginary landscape. The Mona Lisa is also the most valuable portrait in the world. Leonardo da Vinci created an illusion through a unique smile. Her eyes appear to be the center of the viewer’s attention since there are no eyebrows present. Some people believe that the portrait is of a woman named La Gioconda, wife of Francesco del Gioconda.
Three young Italian handymen from Paris stole the painting from the famous museum, the Louvre. Those men were Vincenzo Peruggia and the brothers, Vincenzo and Michele Lancellotti. The theft occurred by ripping off the glass shadow box and frame from the portrait and then Vincenzo Peruggia hid the painting under his clothes and walked out of the museum. It was nearly 26 hours before anyone realized that the painting was missing. This is due to the fact that security was limited and the Louvre was the largest building in the world with over one thousand rooms.
The strange thing about the theft was that it occurred on a Monday when the museum was not open for visitors. At the time of the robbery, the Mona Lisa was not even the most visited item in the museum. In the early 1900’s, a letter was sent to the Louvre that threatened the Mona Lisa painting. Officials from the museum hired a glazier firm to put a dozen or more prized paintings under glass. One of the workers was none other than Vincenzo Peruggia. He was known for being a madman. Perugia had plans of selling the painting. Little did he know how famous the Mona Lisa would become after the theft. Peruggia kept the painting hidden in the bottom of a wooden trunk tucked away at his boarding house for twenty-eight months. He tried to sell the painting to an art dealer in Florence, Italy. This backfired on Perugia when the art dealer reported this to the police and Peruggia was later arrested.
When the Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre, over one hundred thousand people viewed the painting in the first two days and became a global icon. The style of Renaissance art is the sculpture, painting and decorative arts of the European history period. This was a distinct style in the 1400’s in Italy. Paintings were mostly done as murals painted on plaster walls or as fresco. Mixing pigments with water and then painting on the walls were known as frescos. Some artists used tempera paint to paint on wood. Another technique used was sfumato. This is where artists did not use lines or borders. The Mona Lisa was an oil painting on wood and did relate to the early Renaissance style.
Another work of art from this period is The Last Supper. It is a mural painting that was very influential. It was also painted by Leonardo da Vinci. I think the Mona Lisa deserves the attention that it has been given because of the simplicity, pureness, and beauty of the portrait.