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Leonardo da Vinci - Gioconda - Mona Lisa


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Mona Lisa (La Gioconda / La Joconde)

LEONARDO DA VINCI (Italian, 1452-1519)

1503-05
oil on table, 77 x 53 cm. - Paris, Louvre.



Nothing or almost nothing can be said about this portrait that has not been repeated over and over again. It is the most celebrated painting ever created, and, quite probably, the most famous work of art in the world. It has inspired books and films, it has been the protagonist of the most famous robbery of the history of art, it has been carefully studied by thousands of art scholars and even scientists, trying to discover hidden drawings or hidden cracks; or to determine which percentage of the painting corresponds to the face (4,9%), to the landscape (20,3%) or other elements. Thousands of copies, versions, interpretations and caricatures have been created, including the 'Mustached Gioconda' by Dalí or the 'Attacked Gioconda' by Duchamp; and recently a scientific team have tried -basing on the analysis of the painting- to reproduce the voice of the portrayed lady.

In a purely artistic sense, the "Gioconda" is an extraordinary artwork, in which the Leonardesque sfumato reaches its highest expression. There are no brushstrokes, only layers that give the painting an almost unreal aspect, most notably in the extremely famous smile and also in the landscape in the foreground. There are still debates about the identity of the portrayed lady, although she is traditionally believed to be the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. This indecision has allowed many "visionaries" to propose new and “authentic" Giocondas, in spite of the multitude of evidences indicating that the work in the Louvre is the "one and only" Gioconda.

Text: G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com

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