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Mona Lisa's Exoticisms

Updated on January 13, 2015


Mona Lisa is more than an ancient portrait of an elusive woman, it is one that will never fail to delectate its viewers, and a masterpiece of non-reductive glory. Once you’ve encountered a proximate to a life-size replica, you are in for the musing of a life-time. I saw my first life-size replica while shopping at a Michael’s store one sunny morning. While unquestionably, a faint echo of the pristine composition hanging in Musée du Louvre in Paris, the irrationality of her simplicity is what immediately drew me in. Up to then, I had only encountered replicas of the famous painting in minuscule print versions and was never able to quite grasp the sentiments that customarily envelop those who spend exorbitant amounts of currency to peregrinate to Musée du Louvre in Paris to pay their accolades to the pristine original. I often wondered if this was just colossal bluff over something, which factual value laid more on the age factor (the Mona Lisa is about 500 years old), than on its true aesthetic value.

The visit to Michael’s that morning, perpetually answered my question. Captured by the same smile and gaze that many hundreds afore me have beheld in inspirational reverence, I realized that even a replica was remarkably lovely to visually examine. Not at all impetuous, but rather open-mindedly, that same day I ordered my very own lithograph of La Giaconda, as she is also known.

Mona Lisa, simply means Madonna (the Italian word for Madam), thus Madam Lisa. The painting was meticulously engendered in oil by Leonardo Da Vinci, in Florence. Da Vinci worked on the painting on and off from 1503 to shortly before his death in 1519. Albeit it has been argued, that the Mona Lisa could have been a representation of Leonardo himself, or a construed portrait representative of perpetual femininity. Art historians however, holding tenaciously to the original view, investigated exhaustively into the matter, and in 2005 Lisa Del Giaconda, the wife of a cloth and silk merchant (Francesco del Giacondo) of middle class stature, was attested as having been the true model for this portrait. Regardless of who modeled for Leonardo’s portrait, The Mona Lisa has gradually dissevered from its sitting model and has become an entity in its own right, a lasting monument withstanding the deterioration of time. Availing to thrust its fame even further is the unique history circumventing the painting itself- museum larcenies, endeavored stone attacks and splashed paint- along with its aesthetic qualities, has elevated this painting above all others.

History attests to the fact that the renaissance epoch was marked by an art movement gravid with conceptions that eventually led to a revolution against political and religious control. The artists of that epoch seemed to be emerging from the dark middle ages with a promising new lease on life, one that could judiciously discern the value and resplendency of the things within this world, rather than what laid ahead in the afterlife. The renaissance artists were concerned with the here and now, and thus their impetus towards more realism and their renewed interest in human anatomy and science. This is the period that gave birth to Mona Lisa, a true example of classical realism. Proof of Leonardo exhibiting the spirit of his era, is his mastery of sfumato lighting, which is what creates in the Mona Lisa the illusion of movement in her eyes, and his prelude of aerial perspective in creating the background landscape.

A French engineer, Pascal Cotte, used infra-red technology to reveal the layers under all the varnish that had been incorporated to conserve the original. He claims that under it all, lays the most beautiful Mona Lisa; "If you are in front of this huge enlargement of Mona Lisa, you understand instantly why Mona Lisa is so famous." He is right. When my replica arrived, nicely rolled and packaged, I couldn’t hold my exhilaration. Sensing immediately that this replica of the Mona Lisa was going to become the center of magnetization of all who entered my home, I didn’t want to exhibit her in anything but the best wall, under the best lighting, within the best frame. The entire ordeal to determine where to hang dear Mona Lisa took about six month. It wasn't until my husband decided to produce a high ceiling look in my living room, that I determinately, and for the sake of my own lucidity, found that special spot. Now, as if in a pedestal high on the wall, the famous madam-- framed in a comely, thick, golden frame-- seems to visually examine everyone's move.

By virtue of his mastery, Mona Lisa's exoticism is an inevitably ineluctable by-product of Leonardo Da Vinci's stunning brilliance, an artist who many concur arose ahead of his time.The life-like quality of the Mona Lisa didn't defer adept analysis for future aesthetic endeavors, but instead, she became an object of artistic phenomenon in her own time, and Leonardo’s apprehension about Mona Lisa’s swiftly growing fame became such that it may have incited his tortuous obsession in carrying this massive piece along wherever he peregrinated. But was it really an obsession? Anyone submitting to meticulous analysis of this famous painting will definitely conclude there is very good reason why Mona Lisa must perpetuate to stay where she presently is; the Musée du Louvre in Paris behind bullet-proof glass.


Textbook; The Art of Being Human: The Humanities as a Technique for Living 9th Edition

Bryner, By Jeanna. "25 Secrets of Mona Lisa Revealed." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 18 Oct. 2007. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.


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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Very good article; I found it very interesting.