Mona Lisa Visual Analysis, Art Essay Example

Published: 2022-04-28
Mona Lisa Visual Analysis, Art Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Art
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1564 words
14 min read

Mona Lisa, also referred to as La Joconde is an artwork by a profound artist known as Leonardo da Vinci. History has it that Leonardo painted Mona Lisa around the year 1503-1506 but it is believed the artist continued with the work up to around the year 1517. The subject of the artwork is believed to have been Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Mona Lisa was drawn using oil paint on poplar panel, it has a measurement of 77 centimeters * 53 centimeters. Mona Lisa is currently housed in Musee du Louvre, Paris and has been there since the year 1797. Several theories have been suggested concerning the seated woman on the portrait and the entire painting itself. Mona Lisa is one of the most reproduced pieces of art and is located in many museums (Sen, 183).

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The Mona Lisa artwork is considered to be one of the most studied and the most controversial pieces of art in history. The optimal effect that was created by Leonardo was the eyes of the young woman in the paint. While looking at the Mona Lisa, one can feel as if the young lady is watching you. The portrait is a woman who is staring at the viewer with a brilliant smile. The smile of the young woman can be described as enigmatic because viewers interpret it differently. Some viewers claim it is a genuine smile, others say it is a deceptive smile while others conclude the smile to be a sad smile. Looking at the background of the artwork, Leonardo utilized the sfumato technique to bring out the merges accurately. The Sfumato technique involved the use of pyramids which allowed Da Vinci to place the model simply and composed in the portrait's space. The framing of the art is considered to be modern as it has qualities of a frame that could be used in the recent years.

To come up with the magnificent artwork, Leonardo is said to have used oil paints together with the sfumato technique as he wanted this painting to appear real to the viewers (Elias, 12). Robert Gamblin indicated that the Mona Lisa's underpainting was made by adding white which was tint and black to pure colors. To enhance the sense of depth, Leonardo diluted the oil paints laying transparent glaze and mixing the pure color and black shades. To create a warm luminosity, the artist applied lighter colors over the already created dark glazes. Around the neck, face, and breast, an appropriate lightning was used to bring about a glow similar to the glow on the hands of the model.

Mona Lisa's texture is cracked and rough surface, the simulated version by Leonardo can be termed to be as smooth as a figure texture and as rough as a backdrop. The artist used different types of lines such as curved lines to bring about the hair, the clothing, and the entire face region. Organic shapes were the most utilized shapes especially at the curves and the jagged mountains. Looking at the Mona Lisa, the art brings about a feeling of neither sadness nor happiness. This is because Leonardo made use of brown with a tint of grey to bring about the feeling of naturalism. (Behera, 512) The shading of Mona Lisa is uniquely detailed; this is shown by the creation of the mouth which is specifically shaded at the corner of the lips.

The main figure of the art is as the center of the artwork, the follow of direction in the painting is curved. The curve and the central location of the figure give the painting a feeling of gentleness. Using a portrait that was popular during Leonardo's time, he employed a similar formula that was utilized in the seated Madonna to come up with the seated Mona Lisa. He modified the formula from the image of the seated Madonna to create a visual impression that was enhanced by the distance between the viewer and the seated model.

Looking at the portrait, the lady in the artwork is seated and is shown in half-length being shown from the head to the waist region. The model in the portrait is seated on a chair, resting her arms across on the armchair. The chair's armrest is what divides the viewer and Mona Lisa. The model maintains a constant gaze with the view and the gaze allows for a silent communication between the viewer and the portrait. The face of Mona Lisa is brightly lit to attract the attention of any viewer. Leonardo made the attraction possible by making the face to be lit and framing it with darker elements of hair and shadows. The work of Leonardo Da Vinci was made is the way that the masterpiece created an unclear effect on the viewer. The Mona Lisa is a painting of a beautiful woman who shows a lot of mystery using her facial expression and her smile. The mystery of the portray makes viewers to be attracted to her and at the same time creates a distance between the two.

The use of aerial perspective allowed Leonardo to draw the model before the landscape in the portrait. The model is seated on a clear terrace which is enhanced through the dark pillar bases located at the sides of the portrait. The Mona Lisa's background is made up of the landscape; the Mona Lisa has exhibited a greater distance, more water, and loft peaks to bring about an imposing presence of the lady on the portrait.

The clothing and the hair of the model are created in opulent curves to bring a reflection of the rivers and the rising and falling illusive varies at her back. The creativity of the painter is shown in his calmness and the graceful figure of the painting that characterize the skill of Leonardo. The faint smile connects humanity with nature through the portrait's harmony. Careful examination of Mona Lisa, it can be noted that there is no visible hair at the eyelashes nor at the eyebrows. History has is that during the time the portrait was being drawn, facial hair was considered unattractive and thus the majority of women used to pluck the facial hair out.

Leonardo used the sfumato techniques to ensure that the eyes and the mouth in the painting stand out. While looking at the painting, the mouth of the sitter falls under the peripheral vision of the viewer. This makes the vision of the mouth to be unclear, the shading around the check borne makes the sitter appear as if smiling, when a viewer focuses on Mona Lisa's smile, the smile slowly disappears making the image look like it was not meant to smile. The smile disappearing once focused on is what makes the Mona Lisa unique compared to other grand portraits (Barolysky, 45). Mona Lisa portrait is easily recognized by the people who are aware of its existence and those who have studied it. At the same time, no one really understands why almost everybody on earth wishes to see it.

The Mona Lisa stands out from other paintings due to its wide popularity among the people on earth. It is famous due to the historical heritage it has carried over the years. The painting is dated back in the year 1503 and was worked on for four years. The originality of the portrait's content is still a controversy as some historians suggest that King Francois trimmed the original portrait after Leonardo's death. Some scholars disagree with this assumption claiming that on each side of the portrait their columns. Mona Lisa gained her fame and popularity in the mid 19th century as a result of the symbolist movement.

In the year 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the museum by an employee known as Eduardo de Valfierno. The aim of Eduardo was to make several duplicates of the original Mona Lisa and sell them as original portraits. In the year 1913, he was arrested while trying to sell the original portrait (Darian, 32). The Mona Lisa painting has only been moved twice from the Louvre; one is when Napoleon requested that the painting to be placed in his bedroom and the second time was during the World War II to a more secure location.

In conclusion, Mona Lisa was selected in this study is that it provides a wide range of information that can be used by existing artists and those who want to join the venture. Mona Lisa remains to be one of Leonardo's numerous works that have marveled people over the years. Located at Musee de Louvre, Mona Lisa depicts a mysterious woman who has perplexed viewers for many years. Viewers from all over stare at the portrait try to understand the mystery of the smiling model.


Sen, Souvik, et al. "You are facing the Mona Lisa: spot localization using PHY layer information." Proceedings of the 10th international conference on Mobile systems, applications, and services. ACM, 2012. Elias, Mady, and Pascal Cotte. "Multispectral camera and radiative transfer equation used to depict Leonardo's sfumato in Mona Lisa." Applied optics 47.12 (2008): 2146-2154.

Behera, Monalisa, et al. "Recycled aggregate from C&D waste & its use in concrete-A breakthrough towards sustainability in construction sector: A review." Construction and building materials 68 (2014): 501-516.

Barolsky, Paul. Why Mona Lisa smiles and other tales by Vasari. Penn State Press, 2010.Leader, Darian. Stealing the Mona Lisa: What art stops us from seeing. New York: Counterpoint, 2002.

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