Response essay Monalisa


Monalisa is a timeless painting in the history of art, symbolizinggreat worth, art mastery, portrait enigma and the feminine value. Theexclusive piece of work is valued at an excess of $1billion currentlyand is amongst the greatest treasures of renaissance art. Accordingto Simon (2014), the painting is a creative piece of art housed inLouvre also referred to as La Gioconda by the Italians. This titleoriginates from the name of the woman in the portrait Lisa, wife of awealthy businessman. The Florentine dignitary Francesco delGiocondo’s name is borrowed to refer to the painting. Elsewhere,Mona is a term used to refer to lady/madam in modern Italy simplymeaning Monalisa.

The famous portrait is thought to have been painted between1503-1506 in Florence. According to Scaillierez (2015), the paintingbelonged to the wife of a Florentine cloth merchant, taken after whenLisa and Francesco purchased and owned new house or after the birthof their son Andrea in 1502. During this time, Lisa was stillmourning the loss of their daughter and thus the dark veil thatcovers her hair may be considered a mourning veil. The exact date andtime of the painting remains unknown and has not been accuratelydocumented in history. However, despite the lack of exact details,Mona Lisa remains the greatest renaissance paintings of the 15th-16th century.

The greatest Italian renaissance master of art was and will alwaysbe Leonardo da Vinci. Born in Vinci Italy in 1452, Leonardo absorbeda huge range of technical skills and acquired the best educationavailable during the renaissance period in Florence (. He wasexceptional and gifted in arts making him an excellent painter,architect, sculptor, artist, engineer and scientist. Together withMichelangelo, Raphael, Leornardo is considered amongst the threegreatest creators of high renaissance art in Italy. He was wellrecognized for his mastery of oil painting techniques likechiaroscuro which uses 3d effect of shadows and sfumato whichincorporates different tones of color. Both this techniques arevisible in the famous portrait Monalisa. The Monalisa portrait wasdone using the oil poplar medium with a cottonwood panel surface,measuring 77cm by 53 cm. Because of its rich medium, the painting hassurvived for six centuries without being restored, making itextremely unusual and rare argues Simon (2014). Despite all thecredit as an outstanding artist, Leonardo did not sign on most of hispainting including the Monalisa painting.

The Monalisa painting depicts an enigmatic woman gazing at a viewwith a lovely landscape background setting. Those who have viewedthis painting say that if you move across the room starring at theeyes of the portrait, they will follow you. The oil-based paintingexemplifies Leonardo’s mastery of sfumato a paint technique thatinvolves the smooth transition of one color from another through theultra-subtle gradations asserts Leonardo (2006). Sfumato technique isevident on Lisa’s eyes and mouth through the contours used to giveform. The general impression created through use of form, space,medium and color is great serenity made rich by a definite mystery ofair. The serenity is drawn from a muted color scheme, the harmony inthe sitter’s pyramid shaped pose, soothing sfumato tone andunderstated drapery. The mystery of this portrait stems from her gazedirected to the painter and viewers, her enigmatic half-smile, herhands which seem slightly unreal and their lifeless quality whichalmost suggests that they belong to a different body.

The revolutionary element of renaissance concept portraiture isclearly brought out in this painting not to forget the spectacularbackground. The entire background is a landscape and not an open skyas in most portraits. The painter uses distance and landscape tocreate a dense atmosphere and mountain peaks that curve far in thebackground. The expanse landscape curves behind the portrait bringout the frosty regions with lakes and sea inlets not disappointingthe viewer. The mountain ranges jagged by olive green light to alight blue that vanishes to become transparent in the distant horizonis an incredible piece of art signifying great color techniques(Leonardo, 2006).

The creative portrait has remained a valuable asset with attempts torob it. It was purchased by King Francis I from Leonardo. Thepainting is an unmistakable icon of western culture. The popularityof the painting increased during the 19th century due tothe symbolist movement and it has always been thought as a paintingthat encompasses some sort of feminine mystique. The smile ofMonalisa matches contemporary feminine charm views and a contentmodest female representation of a woman’s beauty.

In conclusion, one of the greatest and most valued piece of artdepicting great worth, symbolizing history of timeless art, portraitenigma and the feminine value is the Monalisa painting. Leornado’s artistic techniques of chiaroscuro and sfumato are not captured inany other painting as in the Monalisa painting. The oil basedpainting technique coupled with creative medium and long lastingquality make it highly valuable. The artistic elements of art fuse togive a unique portrait that has lasted for more than six centuries.Monalisa painting is a representation of the feminine beauty in manyways and still manages to capture the hearts of millions of artlovers.



Leonardo, D. (2006).&nbspMonaLisa: Inside the painting.New York: Abrams.

Scailliérez,C. (2015). MonaLisa – Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, retrieved from lisa-gherardini-wife-francesco-del-giocondo

Simon, S.(2014). Monalisa: a life discovered, Dianne, Hales,History.