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The Mona Lisa And Leonardo Da Vinci

analytical Essay
934 words
934 words
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The Mona Lisa by Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci is one of the most visited, written about, sung about, and talked about paintings of all time. In the following pages I will give a detailed description of the painting, the historical context surrounding it’s inception, and an in-depth comparison between Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait.
The Mona Lisa (Fig. 01) is a 16th century oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci. The subject who is commonly believed to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy Florence businessman, is seated in a relaxed three-quarter pose with her hands gently placed one on top of the other.
While a quick glance at the painting reveals a soft, gentle female form with a background of intriguing landscape, further study introduces an added layer of mystery. The way the woman glances slightly to the side as well as her small smile makes viewers feel that she knows some secret. Yet, at the same time, she appears to be a very kind, friendly and approachable.
By using oil paints, Leonardo was able to successfully create a lifelike painting. Since the paints dried very slowly he had time to mix and change all his colors until everything was the correct hue to achieve perfection. The pallet of colors chosen by Leonardo gives a striking contrast between the light face, dark garments, and medium background. By having such strong contrast the viewer is first directed to the face and hands before moving through the whole painting. It also allows definition between areas of the painting (hair and forehead, sleeves and hands, chin and neck, etc…) without having a direct, harsh line.
The curves in the woman’s sleeves and shoulder are repeated in the background trees and road, while the vertical...

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...discovered, the background had been painted black, but when the painting was cleaned scientific analysis revealed that the copy was most likely painted by another artist who say beside Leonardo and copied his work brush-stroke by brush-stroke. (SmartHistory.com) In 2012 Museum officials announced that “It was almost certainly painted by one of Leonardo da Vinci's apprentices alongside the master himself as he did the original.” (Parveen)

According to Louvre Curator Jean-Pierre Cuzin, "The entire history of portraiture afterwards depends on the Mona Lisa. If you look at all the other portraits – not only of the Italian Renaissance, but also of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries – if you look at Picasso, at everyone you want to name, all of them were inspired by this painting. Thus it is sort of the root, almost, of occidental portrait painting." (PBS.org)

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that leonardo da vinci's mona lisa is one of the most visited, written about, sung about and talked about paintings of all time.
  • Analyzes the mona lisa, a 16th century oil painting by leonardo da vinci. the subject, lisa gherardini, is seated with her hands gently placed one on top of the other.
  • Analyzes how the painting reveals a soft, gentle female form with an intriguing landscape, but further study introduces an added layer of mystery. the woman glances slightly to the side as well as her small smile makes viewers feel that she knows some secret.
  • Explains how leonardo created a lifelike painting by using oil paints. the palette of colors gives striking contrast between the light face, dark garments, and medium background.
  • Analyzes how leonardo created a rhythm that keeps your eyes moving around the piece without being directed off the canvas.
  • Explains that the beginning of the 14th century marked italy's shift from being a part of unenlightened middle ages into becoming the political, economic, and artistic capital of europe.
  • Explains leonardo da vinci's reputation as an artist is based on very few completed paintings including the mona lisa, the virgin of the rocks, and the last supper.
  • Explains that the mona lisa's history is shrouded in mystery, including the identity of the sitter, how long leonardo worked on it, and how it came to be in the french royal collection.
  • Explains that leonardo da vinci's mona lisa is widely recognized as the first use of sfumato.
  • Describes how italian handyman vincenzo peruggia stole the mona lisa right from the louvre walls. he was hired to make protective glass cases for some of its famous works.
  • Explains that the mona lisa was discovered in the collection of the prado in madrid. scientific analysis revealed that it was most likely painted by another artist beside leonardo da vinci.
  • Explains that the entire history of portraiture afterwards depends on the mona lisa, which is the root of occidental portrait painting.
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