Leonardo da Vinci Biography for Kids: Mona Lisa
In our series about Leonardo da Vinci biography for Kids: Mona Lisa was his most famous painting, and probably the most famous painting in the history of art. When Leonardo da Vinci was 52 years old, he left Milan, and went back to Florence, where he painted his famous Mona Lisa from 1503 to 1506. It was painted on a 30 inches tall and about 20 inches wide a poplar wood panel.
She has been in the Louvre museum, in Paris, France since 1804. Six million people visit her every year.
Leonardo worked on this painting for over 3 years. He used oil paints and a technique called sfumato, that means blending light and shade. He used a technique in which he overlapped almost transparent layers of paint to achieve her enigmatic expression; experts say that the Mona Lisa has over 40 layers of paint near the eyes and around the mouth. To achieve the softness of the skin, Leonardo used not only his brushes, but also his fingertips.
It is said that while he was painting her, Leonardo invited musicians, clowns and people who read poetry keep her happy. Maybe this is how he captured his enigmatic smile.
The painting we see today is very different from the original, painted more than 500 years ago. The colors have fade and the wood panel was it was painted, had shrunk, and has produced cracks. Nobody really Knows who was Mona Lisa, there are many theories, but the truth is that Leonardo never delivered the painting and he never sold it. He kept it until until the day of his death.
The king of France bought Mona Lisa after Leonardo died. The picture belonged to the kings until the French Revolution; after that it was moved to the Louvre. Being so famous is not that easy; Mona Lisa has been attacked many times, has been sprayed with acid, and stolen. Today is in a climate-controlled enclosure behind a bulletproof glass.
Legacy: The art world has used Mona Lisa’s popularity. Many artists have copied or have used her image to produce modifications and distortions.
This article is part of my series about Leonardo da Vinci where you will find information about his life, facts and anecdotes of his science and artistic activities and his inventions.
These fully illustrated series are especially design for kids, to give them a complete understanding about his work. Please check our archive in the link below to have access to all the articles related to Leonardo da Vinci.