The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci is possibly the world’s most famous and recognized painting.
It has attracted people’s attention for hundreds of years and since being on display in Le Louvre it has drawn guests from all across the world to admire it in real life.
But why are we so obsessive over one painting? What is it about the Mona Lisa smile that draws the attention of thousands of people?
Here are 5 fascinating facts about the Mona Lisa that will leave you wanting to know more, or even see it for yourself.
The Mona Lisa painting is only 30 inches tall.
Although the Mona Lisa is one of the world’s most famous paintings, it’s also one of the world’s smallest.
When visitors travel afar to see the Mona Lisa, quite often they are expecting a largely epic painting but the painting is only 30 x 20 Inches (77 x 53 centimeters).
This is partially to do with our ability to view things online before seeing it in person.
This ability means that we end up looking at the painting out of context, which leads to us making assumptions of its size.
Did you know that “Mona Lisa” is not her real name?
This might sound like a hoax, but really it isn’t her name.
It is thought that the lady displayed in the painting was Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy Italian man named Francesco del Giocondo.
History indicates that he commissioned the work to Leonardo Da Vinci in 1503.
The piece was titled Mona Lisa, which roughly translates to mean “My lady Lisa”, but it was never completed.
Da Vinci died in 1516, therefore the painting was handed to his assistant, having not finished the painting himself before his death.
It is unsure exactly who is in the portrait, this is just one of many theories.
The Mona Lisa has only been stolen once.
The Mona Lisa has been passed from one owner to another throughout the years, but it has only ever been stolen once.
This was on August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from its permanent resting place in Le Louvre, Paris, France.
The theft was discovered the morning after it was suspected to have been taken.
The theft remained a mystery for 2 years, as it was difficult to track down where she had gone.
As a result, journalists and the media created huge campaigns to make sure the Mona Lisa smile was imprinted on the public’s minds to make sure everyone was on the lookout.
It wasn’t until November 1913 in Florence that the Mona Lisa was found.
The painting had been offered to art dealer Alfredo Geri, by a man named Vincenzo Peruggia.
Geri, accepted the offer and notified the police so it could be returned to Le Louvre.
Mona Lisa has her own mailing box.
Over the years many people have been captivated by the mysterious persona of “Mona Lisa” and this has given much attention to her portrait.
So much so, that a personal mailbox was set up for her in Le Louvre.
Although she is no longer alive and hasn’t been for many years, she still receives love-notes, poems and flowers.
There we so many that the gallery set up a post box to receive all these gifts.
Mona Lisa stole the hearts of many men, even after her death!
The painting that is Mona Lisa, captivated the hearts of many men, some of which died for her.
For a small painting, it has influenced the course of history and the lives of many men.
Napoleon once had the painting hanging on his palace bedroom wall for around 4 years.
It is said that he found her so captivating that he embarked on a mission to find an Italian woman to marry.
His affection for her led him to marry Teresa Guadagni who was a descendant of Lisa Gherardini.
As well as men trying to find lookalikes or relatives to her, men died for her.
In 1852 Luc Maspero, a Parisian artist threw himself from the fourth floor of a hotel in Paris because of this love and confusion with the Mona Lisa
His suicide note read: “For years I have grappled desperately with her smile. I prefer to die.”
Again in 1910 a man, encapsulated by her smile, made sure to shoot himself in front of her painting, so he could admire her smile as he died.
It is unknown why the mystery of the Mona Lisa smile encapsulates so many, but it will most likely continue to amaze generations to come.
If you find yourself in Paris then this is certainly a piece to see in person! So add it to your bucket list!