Monalisa is a much talked about 16th century portrait that was painted in oil on a poplar panel by a reputed Italian Renaissance painter named Leonardo Da Vinci. This artwork is presently owned by the French government and hangs in the Musee du Louvre in Paris. The painting has a title “Portrait of Lisa Gheradini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo”. This painting is a half length portrait that depicts a woman whose expression has raised a storm of speculation. There are various aspects in the painting that have led to further studies about the painting.
It is learned now that Leonardo Da Vinci started working on Monalisa in 1503 and worked on it for four years and finally left it unfinished. The portrait was finally finished when he moved to France and just before he died in 1519. Leonardo took the painting along when he was invited by King Francois I to work at Clos Luce near King’s castle in Amboise. The king later on went on to but the painting from one of Leonardo’s assistants Salai. The painting was given to Louis XIV and remained in Fontainebleau. Later Louis XIV had the painting moved to the Palace of Versailles.
Just after the French Revolution the painting was moved to Louvre. Nepoleon hung the painting in his bedroom in Tuileries Palace. During the extended Franco-Prussian wars the painting was moved to a safe location from Louvres. This secret hiding place has not been known. There was not much interest in this painting in the early days. But with the rise of symbolist movement appreciation for Monalisa painting started heaping up.
In the early days there was a lot of theories regarding the identity of the sitter. Many felt it was a reflection of Leonardo himself. But recent research has come up with some footnotes by Leonardo regarding the painting. It is confirmed that the sitter was Lisa de Giocondo. There are also speculations about original size and alternate versions of the painting.
In the recent past a study by National Geographic came up with a startling find. The figure in the painting was maternal or pregnant. Lisa wore a guarnello attire worn in those times by pregnant women. Leonardo has also intentionally drawn Lisa’s hands large to symbolise her pregnancy.