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Current Affairs

Mona Lisa

Date: 01 June 2022 Tags: Paintings

Issue

One of the most recognised paintings of the world, the Mona Lisa was smeared with cake by a climate activist.

 

Background

The Mona Lisa was painted by famous Italian renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci. The painting is usually under threat.

 

Details

  • The painting is said to have been produced between 1503 and 1517 and is an archetypal masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance.

  • The half-length portrait is painted in sfumato technique. It has a female figure seated against a mountainous landscape.

  • There is a belief that both a man and a woman modelled for the portrait while others argue that it is a disguised self-portrait of da Vinci himself.

 

Subject of painting

Subject is largely believed to be Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant from Florence.

 

Ownership of painting

  • After da Vinci’s death, his assistant Salai, who is said to have inherited the work, sold the painting to King Francis I of France.

  • After the French revolution, the painting was inherited by the French Republic. It was briefly hung in private bedroom of Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • Eventhough it was popular in art circles, the Mona Lisa was catapulted to public fame when it was stolen from the Louvre museum in 1911.

  • The thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, kept it hidden in his apartment for two years before it was retrieved by the Italian Police.

 

Popularity of the painting

Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression has intrigued viewers for centuries. There is also admiration for the way in which da Vinci applied his study of human anatomy to the painting.

 

Copies of the paintings

  • The painting has a twin, which was discovered in 2012. It is a much brighter version, which is located at the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

  • It is said to have been painted by one of da Vinci’s main assistants, Melzi or Salai, at the same time as the master.

 

Past attacks

  • The painting has been under attack many number of times. There was an acid attack that partially damaged the painting in 1956.

  • A rock was hurled at the painting that destroyed the glass casing and caused a slight damage.

  •  There were other incidents of trying to vandalize the painting using coffee mugs and spray paints.