Mona Lisa: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About The World’s Most Famous Enigmatic Smile

Posted: 2012/12/01 in Art Historians, Art History Trivia, Documentaries, Famous Paintings, Just for Fun, Podcasts, Uncategorized

Facts About the Artist’s Subject:

Names (discovered in 2005) Lisa del Giocondo, Lisa Gherardini, Lisa di Antonio Maria (or Antonmaria) Gherardini and Mona Lisa.

Born on 15 June 1479, Via Maggio, Florence, Italy | Died on 15 July 1542 or ca. 1551 at Convent of Saint Orsola, Florence, Italy. Possibly born on a farm with aristocratic heritage. Family poor, but respectable name. Oldest of seven children.

Spouse was Francesco del Giocondo, a cloth and silk merchant who commissioned the painting who became a local official. Lisa married as a 15 year old the much older man, becoming his third wife. Lisa’s dowry was 170 florins (which was returned upon her husband’s death) and the San Silvestro farm. Her children were Piero del Giocondo, Suor Beatrice (Camilla del Giocondo), Andrea del Giocondo, Giocondo del Giocondo, Suor Ludovica (Marietta del Giocondo), Raised: Bartolomeo del Giocondo. He was imprisoned in 1512 when it was thought that he possibly shared business or political friends with the Medici which was in exile. He was released when the Medici returned to Florence. 

About the commission: It is thought that the portrait was commissioned when thier daughter Andrea was born and new home was purchased. Francesco’s family were patrons of the arts and had commissioned works by other artists. Leonardo was not paid for the portrait, and it remained in his possession until he worked for the King of France, having traveled with it via his mule.

How did scholars come to know the subject’s identity?

“In 2005, an expert at the University Library of Heidelberg discovered a margin note in the library’s collection that established with certainty the traditional view that the sitter was Lisa. The note, written by Agostino Vespucci in 1503, states that Leonardo was working on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo

Who has owned the Mona Lisa?

“The Mona Lisa has been in custody of France since the 16th century, when it was acquired by King Francis I; however, after the French Revolution it came into the possession of the people.” To read more click here: “wikipedia article”


Fame and the Mona Lisa: “The Theft That Made The ‘Mona Lisa’ A Masterpiece,” NPR Podcast

On Sunday morning almost 100 years ago in the summer of 1911, Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa” was lifted from the Louvre by three thieves. Picasso was arrested, JP Morgan was suspect.  The painting became a sensation in the news, with conspiracy theories abounding. For two years the painting was stored in a trunk in a boarding house, before one of the thieves tried to sell it to an art dealer in Florence, Italy.  Click to Play

Current News: Article and Video

2 Mona Lisa’s, “Mona Lisa: Leonardo’s Earlier Version” NPR article and video

“The Zurich-based Mona Lisa Foundation said today that it has evidence that a painting that first came to light in the late 1800s is an early “Mona Lisa” also done by Leonard Da Vinci… Known as the “Isleworth Mona Lisa,” the painting is a “portrait of a young woman with an enigmatic smile” much like the famous work of art in The Louvre, as The Associated Press writes. The foundation, which was created for the specific purpose of researching the history of the “early Mona Lisa,” says it believes the painting was created 11 or 12 years before the more famous likeness. Its existence first became known when it “turned up in the [Isleworth] home of an English nobleman in the late 1800s,” the AP says.” – NPR


What do you think about the 2 painting theory?


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