MONNA LISA
By LEONARDO DA VINCI


MONNA LISA
By LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)

A melancholy interest attaches to this picture owing to the irreparable loss which the world has sustained by its theft from the Louvre not so very long ago. Vasari, a famous Italian critic who lived in Italy in Leonardo's day, says of it: " Let him who wants to know how far Art can imitate Nature realise it by examining this head ... it is a work that is divine rather than human."

The painter was one of the wonder-men of the world. Born at Vinci, between Pisa and Florence, he became a painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer, and achieved renown in all these capacities. At the age of twenty-eight he went to the East as engineer to the Sultan of "Babylon," or Cairo, and in later years he planned a system of hydraulic irrigation for the plains of Lombardy. In 1500 he entered the service of Caesar Borgia as architect and engineer, and four years later he finished this half-length portrait of "the woman with the inscrutable smile," which is accounted his most celebrated easel picture.

His famous " Last Supper" was painted on the walls of the refectory in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. It has suffered from frequent restoration, necessitated by the dampness of the walls and the method of painting in oil upon plaster, but it still remains one of the world's masterpieces.

Leonardo was not content with an easy adherence to known rules, but achieved his style by a thorough and painstaking study of Nature. His known works are few in number, but English people are fortunate in being able to study and enjoy a representative picture in the National Gallery, while the finest series of his drawings are in the British Museum and at Windsor.

From the book "Famous Paintings" Volume 2 printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
(Firefox users must click again on the large photo to see the very large image.)




Online "Name the Painting"










The Day the Mona Lisa Was Stolen

"The Last Supper"
at Olga's Gallery

Restoration of "The Last Supper"
pictures before and after

Audio Recording
people looking at Mona Lisa
(Click on the picture to hear the recording.)

Leonardo Da Vinci
Online book by Maurice W. Brockwell

Exploring Leonardo
from the Museum of Science

Mona Lisa Mania
includes a kid's section

Art History
online interactive art lesson - elementary


Famous Paintings in this Series





James Archer
My Great Grandmother


Bashkirtseff
The Meeting


Bouguereau
Charity


John Brett
From the Dorsetshire Cliffs


Arnesby Brown
The River Bank


Joseph Clark
Mother's Darling


John Constable
The Hay-Wain


Jean Baptiste Camille
Corot
The Fisherman's Hut


Jean Baptiste Camille
Corot
A Flood


Leonardo Da Vinci
Monna Lisa


Edouard Detaille
The Dream


Henri Fantin-Latour
Flowers


Thomas Gainsborough
Queen Charlotte


Thomas Gainsborough
The Market Cart


Jean Baptiste Greuze
The Head of a Girl


Jean Baptiste Greuze
Fidelity


James Clark Hook
Home With the Tide


Alfred William Hunt
Windsor Castle


Josef Israels
The Shipwrecked Mariner


B.W. Leader
The Stream in Summer-time


Madame Vigee Le Brun
Portrait of the Artist

Alphonse Legros
A Canal With a Fisherman


Anton Mauve
Watering Horses


J.L.E. Meissonier
The Cavalier


Sir J.E. Millais
Speak! Speak!


Sir J.E. Mallais
My First Sermon


George Morland
The Reckoning


George Morland
The Inside of a Stable


Murillo
The Immaculate Conception
of the Virgin


Alfred Parsons
When Nature Painted
All Things Gay


Ralph Peacock
The Sisters


Rembrandt
Syndics of the
Cloth Merchants' Guild


Guido Reni
"Ecce Homo"


Sir Joshua Reynolds
Portrait of Mrs. Richard Hoare
With Her Infant Son


Briton Riviere
The Temptation
in the Wilderness


Dante Gabriel
Rossetti
Day Dreams


John Singer Sargent
Miss Ellen Terry
as Lady Macbeth


Lady Stanley
(Dorothy Tennant)
His First Offence


Jan Steen
Grace Before Meat


Marcus Stone
On the Road from
Waterloo to Paris


Constant Troyon
Watering Cattle


H.S. Tuke
"All Hands to the Pumps"


Velazquez
King Philip IV. of Spain


S.E. Waller
Sweethearts and Wives


Thomas Webster
The Smile

Index
Famous Paintings Volume 1
Art Gallery

Index
Famous Paintings Volume 2
Art Gallery

Index
Art Appreciation
Lessons