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Mona Lisa Leonardo Da Vinci

The Mona Lisa always had an innocence to it which made it too famous. The fact that the innocence made it felt is what “good art” is all about. The portrait of Mona Lisa which the artist Leonardo da Vinci took four years to complete was painted somewhere between 1479 to 1528.It is said to be the painting of LaGioconda, who was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Paris.1 The painting has been appreciated like no other painting in the world and is the most heavily insured painting in the world.

All art is based or divided into two categories: the elements and the principles of design. While the elements deal with things like lines, shapes, direction, size, texture, color and value, the principles deal with balance, gradation, repetition, contrast, harmony, dominance and unity.

A good piece of art would appeal to the eye only when it has used most of the elements of design under the given set of principles. No one could have understood this better than the artist Leonardo da Vinci who was and still is very well known for his knowledge of art. The techniques he developed revolutionized the world of art in a whole new way. His techniques went beyond the teachings of that era. He studied the effects of light and shadow and their effects on three dimensional objects.

2 His painting Mona Lisa is an extremely controversial one when it comes to the subject but it is this element of enigma that the artist tried to create that is still surrounding the painting through its smile and effect. The painting has all the elements and principles of design well used because it projects the desire of the artist to remain “aloof”. The slight openings of the corners of her mouth where her lips turn into a curve are the focal point of the painting. In a strange way they make the smile feel so innocent and gentle that it influences the atmosphere of the whole painting.

3 Apart from having a focal point the artist has used emphasis and variety by using a technique called “sfumato”. This technique which was invented by artists of that era was properly put into use in da Vinci’s paintings. Da Vinci was a perfectionist and he studied that all object looked darker and had marked changes in their outlines when they receded into a distance. Hence by using the sfumato technique he tried to dissolve the forms to show the effect of light and shade on the form which gave the painting a surreal quality and timelessness to the painting which exists till date. The Mona Lisa is seen dressed in the fashion of those times with that enigmatic smile and shaved eyebrows which clearly depict the elegance of the ladies of those days. In the background is a mountainous landscape which creates a perfect backdrop for the painting of a delicate woman.

It has been done to emphasize her and her smile .The backdrop is also dark whereas she has a porcelain skin tone thus providing contrast to the otherwise “not so colourful” painting. The mountains in the distance also balance the proximity of the figure to the person who sees it. On the whole da vinci ahs tried to create a unity by trying to use all elements and principles to make the portrait. He believed that apart from learning the science of art one should also learn the laws of nature and its nuances to understand figures better and transfer them to canvas. He studied human anatomy to be able to make the perfect human figure and the little details which otherwise went unnoticed.

This is probably why the Mona Lisa still holds the attention of everyone who sees it. The human eye was the best instrument to visualize this and the artist the best person to put it on canvas. Like all paintings created by the respective artists, lots of thought and efforts go into making a masterpiece. And the simpler it is the more difficult it might have been for the painter to paint it. It is said that it took quite some time for da Vinci to complete it and he had such attachment to it that he carried it wherever he went. It must have never occurred to him that a painting which he painted using all the elements and principles would go down centuries as one of the best made paintings thanks to his foresight and genius of seeing and understanding the laws of nature and the human body.






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