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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Obscurity of Mona Lisa


  As any art student could agree, there is nothing more irritating than going over the most well known artists through-out history like Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo Da vinci, you know; seemingly normal, run of the mill artists who we all learned about during our high-school careers. Unless specifically gifted in the arts, hearing these names probably makes you want to fall asleep on the spot unless, of course, there was something more. Something mysterious and seemingly creepy behind the canvas..

  I was never the one for conspiracy theories- actually, I kinda hate them. They're always so far-fetched and thought up by losers who probably never graduated high-school more than we'd like to admit but when you combine something I personally adore with a sense of mystery and conspiracy, I'm all in. As told by my name, my favorite artist is Da vinci and something about him and his work completely intrigues me for whatever reason it may be; more than anything I'm completely mesmerized by the enigma of the ever beautiful Mona Lisa.

  Painted in Florence, starting in 1503 and coming to an end by 1519, the Mona Lisa came to be by the beautiful works of Leonardo Da vinci [1]; lonely and finished in oils, the piece was as incredible then as it is now. Much like anything, there is always aspects of confusion and secrecy in art, but the more or less worlds most famous piece? This creates room for much talk as well as research. So what exactly is the element of uncertainty in Mona? For starters, who exactly is she? There are many stories as to who the woman painted may be; whether a friend, a customer, a model or even no one at all; possibly a self portrait of Leonardo as the opposite gender. It is most widely believed that the woman depicted is Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine cloth merchant, Francesco del Giocondo [2] as the alternative title of the work happens to be La Gioconda, but you and I both know how the Internet and it's users work; we are never settled with facts let alone from hundreds of years ago.

  Upon the many speculations of who Mona Lisa may be, I take the most interest in wondering how many Mona's are there? This is not something you would have learned in grade school, however it is quite riveting to study on how many copies of the world famous painting there actually is.


  In the photo shown above, three versions of the Mona Lisa are shown; the first the original 2'6" x 1'9 painting hanging on the wall of the Louvre in Paris, France.

  The second is a first draft of the world famous Mona, scientifically discovered using amazing technologies, underneath the layers of the second draft . These discoveries were made by French scientist, Pascal Cotte, spending over a decade shining strong lights and measuring its reflections (also known as Layer Amplification Method) on the Mona Lisa [3] in order to prove his curiosities of the piece.

  Lastly, shown on the far right is my favorite as it shows chiaroscuro (the contrasting powers of light and dark). This version is not contemplated to be underneath the Mona we all know and love, but perhaps very similar copy, a twin if you will; this version is known as The Isleworth Mona Lisa is thought to be another oil painting done by Leoardo Da vinci, earlier in Lisa Gherardini's life (possibly a decade or so before the most known Mona Lisa was started). Although it is still unknown if The Isleworth Mona Lisa was actually done by Da vinci or not, still remains a mystery, or at least to the general public [4]
  So who is she? Who is the Mona Lisa? Could it be Lisa Gherardini, or maybe something not so simple? How many are there? Does the world only know about 3 versions of this ever so beautiful and mysterious painting? These are things, you and I would both love to know and confuses the minds of millions, frustrating scientists, fine/Renaissance art collectors and art students around the world. As well as his paintings, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an odd, quiet and mysterious man; probably why there is so much controversy over his works.

  "A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not." - Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci [5].

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