Essay Sample on Artwork Evolution: Comparison of Mona Lisa and Self-Portrait With a Monkey

Published: 2022-12-21
Essay Sample on Artwork Evolution: Comparison of Mona Lisa and Self-Portrait With a Monkey
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Arts Art
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 757 words
7 min read

Artwork throughout centuries evolved depending on the existence of palette colors. Renaissance shaped artists work in the fifteenth century. Drawings at this period acquired naturalistic look with a focus on lighting and shadow. Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci's work follows a realistic approach. Self-portrait with a monkey by Fridah Kahlo was created in the 20th century when most artistic works followed a surrealism approach. Surrealism approach of artwork is not just about drawings but was shaped by social movement. Comparison of the two artwork from different centuries provides an eye-opener to what shaped artwork evolution.

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Leonardo Da Vinci drew Mona Lisa in 1503 while Fridah Kahlo created a self-portrait with a monkey in 1940. Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian artist while Fridah Kahlo was a Mexican female artist. Da Vinci used neutral colors, brown and green, Fridah Kahlo, on the other used bright colors. Example of bright colors used by Kahlo is yellow, red and green. These color are what made up the Mexican folklore in the 1940s (Jackie, pp 14). The colors used by Fridah Khalo were not entirely bright; the clothes and hair worn by Fridah Khalo in the portrait were painted using opaque colors. The background of the Khalo's drawings acquires a shadow effect due to dark green-brown leaves. The difference in color effects for the two paintings portrays to us the changing techniques acquired by different artists with regard availability of a palette of colors. Da Vinci's Monalisa portrait colors are not bright giving it a drier and less vibrant environment. The line defining space for Fridah Kahlo's painting is made up of lots of curves. The monkey's shadow tells us that the woman is on the first layer and monkey on the second layer. Da Vinci's portrait line is straight except for clothes and river background. There is no shade in the portrait, therefore, giving the face a softer look. The three-dimensional effect on Mona Lisa makes it more realistic (Hooper, np).

The two paintings have similarities first on their square faces. The square faces effect is as a result of shades found under the chin of the portraits. Body and frame space is directly proportional to both paintings. The artworks were created using oil. The two portraits portray women with mixed facial expression. The sitting position for the two women is the same with a straight look. The two paintings are considered important at their time of creation.

Time difference when the two portraits were created plays a role in the differences between the two drawings. The painting of Mona Lisa has a medium size body proportion as compared to that of Faridah Khalo which is shot faced. Self-portrait with a monkey is more eye-catching than Mona Lisa due. The bright colors used by Faridah Khalo makes it eye-catching. Despite the eye-catching nature of Faridah Kahlo's image, Mona Lisa remains popular. The artwork for Mona Lisa is technologically advanced for the 15th century. Mona Lisa facial expression is exaggerated when compared to that of Faridah Kahlo's. The facial difference could be attributed to the race differences for the women used in the portrait.

Despite the similarities of the two images, it is evident that there has been an evolution of artwork from realistic nature in the 15th century to naturalistic nature in the 20th century. The realistic Color palette has also played a critical role in how the artist has been producing the work. Elements used in different times makes the artistic work for Da Vinci and Farida Khalo to have different appeals. Khalo's paintings, therefore, were impacted by surrealism which was a social movement that came into place in the 19th century. Leonardo Da Vinci's artwork is art with an impact from any form of social movement. The two artist work, therefore, shows us how artistic work has evolved depending on changing factors such as the availability of color palettes and social movements.

Works Cited

Bryner, Jeanne. "In Photos: Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'." Live Science, 2019,

Hooper, John. "Exhibits Mark 500 Years of Leonardo Da Vinci, the Original Renaissance Man; Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Codex Leicester' is among Treasures on View 500 Years After the Death of the Renaissance Polymath." Wall Street Journal (Online), Oct 31, 2018. ProQuest,

WULLSCHLAGER, JACKIE. "Explosion of Art from a Lifetime of Suffering Frida Kahlo's Shocking Paintings of Woman-as-Victim Summed Up a Powerful Current of Thought in the 20th Century and Her Harrowing, Death-Fixated Images Still Resonate Today JACKIE WULLSCHLAGER - VISUAL ARTS." Financial Times, Jun 08, 2005, pp. 14. ProQuest,

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