Mona Lisa [Leonardo da Vinci]

Marguerite Elliot


Lauren Dare

Sr. Editor

The Mona Lisa is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. 

Possibly the most visited painting in the world. Over 8 Million people per year come to the Louvre and many of them just to see Mona. In all of Leonardo's 13,000 plus pages of notes, there is no mention of this painting and there are no preliminary sketches of it.

It was stolen in 1911, and Pablo Picasso was one of the accused thieves. The real thief was a museum employee.

It has been vandalized on several occasions with acid, rocks, and paint, which is why it now hangs behind bullet proof glass.

Parts of the painting are missing from each side where two pillars once stood.

Napoleon Bonaparte once had the Mona Lisa hanging in his bedroom.

Leonardo never gave a name to the painting, so it goes by different names in different countries.  We call it the Mona Lisa, but the French call it La Joconde. There are many theories of who or what the painting is of. One theory holds that Mona Lisa is a self portrait of Leonardo in drag. Nat King Cole based his 1950 #1 hit on this painting, and many other artists including Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, and Andy Warhol have produced artworks based on it.

Strangely enough, Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.

According to everyone the Mona Lisa is overrated. I like it.

It's smaller than you think, coming in at 30 inches × 21 inches.

Art historians everywhere will be happy as clams as soon as Hollywood realizes that the Mona Lisa is painted on wood rather than canvas. Movie fact-checkers who did no research: Equilibrium (2002), Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998), and special shout-out to the British TV show Doctor Who.

In Equilibrium, Christian Bale runs around destroying 'emotionally stimulating material,' essentially anything pretty or interesting, including our Mona Lisa. In Ever After, starring Drew Barrymore as Cinderella, the charming Prince saves the painting, rolled up safely in a tube, from a gang of bandits. Mona Lisa also appears on at least four different occasions in the BBC’s cult-classic Doctor Who and its spin-offs.

Before the Nazis took over Paris, Louvre employees packed away its precious treasures. The Mona Lisa, being the diva that she is, was sealed with a curator/chaperone in an airtight ambulance to be hidden away in Chauvigny, France. Apparently the ambulance was so well sealed that the curator was unconscious upon arrival. The painting was fine. The Nazis were sent on a wild goose chase and pursued as many as five different leads/copies of the Mona Lisa. The real painting and its copies were moved around until either the copy or the real thing was finally discovered by Allied Monuments Men in the Altaussee salt mines in Austria.

The Louvre has been rather coy about what really happened during the war. These official/unofficial copies have lead conspiracy theorists to believe that the real Mona Lisa is not always on display at the Louvre and that they are regularly rotated so the diva isn't overworked.

Mona Lisa [Leonardo da Vinci] is mentioned on Sartle Blog -