Essay Sample on Cultural and Historical Impact of Mona Lisa

Published: 2023-03-14
Essay Sample on Cultural and Historical Impact of Mona Lisa
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Arts
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1253 words
11 min read


The Mona Lisa is a portrait painting that is a half-length and was done by an Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is one of the most famous works of art in the world believed to be painted between 1503 and 1506. The painting holds the Guinness world record as the most valuable piece by 2019. It is believed to be the portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, whose name was Lisa, while Mona is the short form to the word Madonna meaning lady (Lezotte 40). The masterpiece has been the most written about, the most debated about and the most sung hence being described as the most known piece of art in the world. It is owned by the France government, and it is placed on the wall in Louvre in Paris, France.

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The Mona Lisa painting, the greatest of all time, has a huge impact on the history and the culture of many in the world.

Cultural Impact

Influence on the Popular Culture

The portrait inspired many women in the 20th century as being the ideal woman, as portrayed by Mona Lisa. The embodiment of a woman is indescribable, receptive, out of reach and beautiful (Casey 15). The portrait also influenced the dressing codes of people regarding its iconic status which was imitated in schoolboy fashion such as a mustache and goatee.


Leonardo's portrait has also inspired classic songs. The lyrics describe the artwork by showing Mona Lisa's beautiful aspects, such as her smile. An American lyricist Ray Evans and songwriter Jay Harold Livingston wrote about Mona Lisa (Harris 556). The song was recorded in I950 by the jazz pianist and vocalist Nat King cole and it was very famous.

Novels and Films

The Mona Lisa portrait has led to the production of films as well as the writing of several novels. Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) by William Gibson and Mona Lisa Smiled a Little (1999) by Rachael Wyatt are examples of novels linked with the painting. Other writers such as Martin Caparros in his novel Valfierno (2004) describe the man who was the mastermind behind the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre.

Inspiring Other Artworks

Leonardo's portrait inspired many iconic paintings being linked to different topics, such as politics and civilization (Boyarskaya et al. 630). The painters include Marcel Duchamp, who used paintings to describe the civilization that led to the First World War. Other decorations and art forms continue referring to Leonardo's portrait. Household items, bath towels, umbrellas, and tapestries are made to bear the image of Mona Lisa.

Historical Impact

France History

The portrait of Mona Lisa has a wide historical description, which helps many to learn about the history of France. In its history, the painting was kept in the Palace of Fontainebleau then it was moved to the Palace of Versailles. The painting was moved to Louvre, where it was on permanent display after the French Revolution (Casey 17). It was moved to several places during the Franco-Prussian War and World War two then, finally, it was taken to the Ingres Museum in Montauban. The historical aspect of the portrait helps to understand the different historical events that took place in France.

Heritage Preservation

The Mona Lisa painting is one of the world's ancient artworks. Therefore there is a need to ensure it is well preserved for future generations. The uniqueness of the portrait makes it precious and valuable. The Mona Lisa is described to bear a resemblance to several renaissance depictions such as the Virgin Mary. Her posture is reserved, the use of an aerial perspective creatively designs a smile, and also the imaginary background of the portrait. The historical aspects of the portrait need to be preserved to inspire other works of art (Harris 555). The inventions such as Leonardo being one of the first painters to use the aerial perspective also require being reserved as historical heritage.

Skill Advancements

The Mona Lisa portrait has led to the improvement of skills of art, mostly in drawings and paintings. Leonardo's work has greatly promoted the skillful application of Sfumato, which was a skill adopted by many artists in the production of more masterpieces. Leonardo depicts the enigmatic woman seated with dark pillars bases on both sides and a landscape of icy mountains behind her. The skill was widely used by most of his students and other young painters such as Raphael. The drawing by Leonardo encouraged other artists to make studies on their paintings before making them public (Goli et al. 400). The skills used by Leonardo to develop the portrait made him famous through his work of art, which remains one of the most appreciated artifacts of history, thus encouraging many artists to apply his skills.

Popularizing Art Work

The Mona Lisa had a reasonably noticeable impact on the works of art that followed. In an attempt to create more masterpieces or to outdo Da Vinci, many artists adopted Da Vinci's techniques. There was a development of more paintings describing different phenomena. The stature of the painting, coupled with its reputation, reached the farthest ends of the world, creating an avenue for freedom of thought in artists and the move towards similar pieces of art (Lezotte 45). Considering all the reviews and records, one might even say Leonardo Da Vinci taught the world how to paint. The man has mastered his skill, seeing how Da Vinci got appreciated for his masterpieces must have triggered curiosity in youngsters. The art became advanced and well known by many all over the world through the piece of work the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.

Research in Art Work

The Mona Lisa portrait resulted in a lot of controversy among the historian about the lady in the painting. According to French scientist Pascal Cotte, there are several images beneath the surface of the masterpiece when reflective light technology is used. In 2004, Pascal had access to the Mona Lisa for analysis and study purposes. He applied the Layer Amplification Method to get a deeper analysis of the painting (Boyarskaya et al. 630). Findings from other research show that there are different pictures in the portrait and that Mona Lisa's smile disappears when it is observed from a different direction, as concluded by Margaret Livingstone (2003). The different interpretation of the Mona Lisa painting provides a new phase of focusing on the works of art.


Mona, Lisa is an iconic piece of artwork that has had tremendous impacts on the historical and cultural aspects. As described, the painting is so popular even today yet it was done ages ago. Therefore, artworks can be used as a historical means of preserving history and can also be used to promote and introduce cultural practices in the world. Mona Lisa has served both cultural and historical purposes; hence, it is difficult for it to be forgotten. The artists also should be creative and unique when coming up with artworks.

Works Cited

Boyarskaya, Sebastian, Bauermann, Hecht, &Tiischer. The Mona Lisa effect: Neural correlates of centered and off-centered gaze. Human Brain Mapping,2014. 36( 2 ), 619-632. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22651. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.

Casey, The museum effect: gazing from object to performance in the contemporary cultural-history museum,2003 Archives & Museum Informatics, 2, 1-21. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.

Da Vinci, L. (1503-1519). Mona Lisa [Painting]. Accessed from Accessed 10 Dec 2019.

Goli, Dionisi-Vici, & Uziclli. Locating contact areas and estimating contact forces between the "Mona Lisa" wooden panel and its frame, 2014. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 15( 4 ), 391-402. DOl:10.1016/j.culher.2013.08.003. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.

Rapatzikou, Tatiana. Gothic Motifs in the Fiction of William Gibson. 12th ed., vol. 1, Rodopi, 2004. Accessed 10 Dec 2019.

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