The Mona Lisa is, in the words of one critic, "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." It's hard to argue with that, but how much do you really know about this unmistakable masterpiece?
- There's at least four different versions painted by Leonardo da Vinci and his students. But the one we all know and love is at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. The others can be found at the Prado Museum and in numerous private collections.
- At the beginning of the 20th century, the Mona Lisa was actually relatively unknown. Until 1911, that is, when it was stolen from the Louvre. The high profile theft, and the appeals for its return, ironically helped publicize and popularize the painting.
- How much is the Mona Lisa worth? Well, it's recognized in the Guinness Book of Records as having the most expensive insurance policy in history, valued at $100 million in 1962, equivalent to $650 million in 2018. But, as the French aren't selling, it's literally priceless.
- The painting depicts a woman set in front of a mountainous landscape. Some have claimed the towering mountains show the influence of Chinese artists, but it's thought by most to be the Val di Chiana, a valley in Tuscany.
- If you look closely, you can see she's actually wearing a veil. Bruno Mottin, an expert at the Louvre, believes this is a guarnello, which was traditionally used by women while pregnant or just after giving birth.
Source: Google Arts & Culture