Painted by internationally renowned artist Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, is one of the considered milestones in the field of art. Mona Lisa has a dimension of 77 × 53 cm, 30 × 21 inches. It was painted in a canvas by using oil as a medium and was made in Italy but was later moved to France.
Entitled, Mona Lisa, the artwork is a portrait of a woman which has been said and considered as a signifier of being a woman. The painting is also one of the most talked-about and controversial up to today even if it was made in as early as the 16th century. More so, the painting has been evoking different kinds of interpretations. If the work was not treated as it is now, I think, the interpretation of course would also change. If Mona Lisa was laughing in the painting, the mystery behind the classical painting would not an issue. The painting might not even be popular as it is today.
The controversial painting is also capable of evoking feelings. The smile of the subject in Da Vinci’s artwork has been a topic of debate among those who already viewed the painting. There are actually different feelings that could be evoked dependent on who views the painting. But I think the painting suggests a very calm emotion.
Meanwhile, going on the formal elements of the art work, the painter used a “pyramid design” in coming up with the painting. This means that the painter merely placed his subject within a calm space in the painting. The composition of the painting itself suggested an ambiguous effect which caused the viewers to have different interpretations. The darker elements in the painting like the hair and the veil practically served as the frame in the portrait. Also, the painting appeared to have a graceful atmosphere due to the lines employed in the painting. There were blurred lines to inject, perhaps, additional effects. The line, also, regulated the composition as a whole and made the painting more excellent as they were artistically done to succumb to the traditions of doing an art work.
The space in the painting would serve as the “breathing room” of the subject. Without enough space, the shape would be difficult to distinguish or see. On the other hand, the dark and light tones served as an indicator for the viewer which aspect of the painting did the painter intended to emphasize in his work. In this case, lighter tones in Mona Lisa’s face were used to convey that the face was the very subject of the art work. The tonal contrast was also held in minimum. Shadows of brown were predominantly employed in the art work.
The imaginary landscape in the subject’s background appeared to be important also. The texture of the painting, especially Mona Lisa’s face deserved to be scrutinized carefully. The texture was very unique and different. In addition, the painting has a balanced symmetry which gave an impression of formality. Likewise, there was a significant visual rhythm like the subject’s background. The elements of the art work seem proportional. The tones of the painting made it easier to glean what the emphasis of the painting was. If there were pure dark tones, it would be hard to identify which was the focus of the painting; hence, there would be a different interpretation.
Generally, the artist’s choice of the medium has an impact on the presentation of the unified art work. The medium, of course, was chosen for the painter to give effects that would be most effective in his chosen medium.
Mona Lisa was just talking about a woman—or could be viewed the women of the society as a whole. The content could mean power and reverence to women as opposed by the fragile-appearing subject. The intention of the artist is to project how calm a woman is—and how mysterious a woman could be. The colors that were chosen, the choice of light and dark tones were enough justifications for the intentions of the painter.
The art work itself is a symbolism for feminism as claimed by some researchers. Other than that, no other underpinning meanings could be inferred from the work. The title was said to be from the name of the wife the wealthy Francesco del Giocondo. He was a wealthy Florentine whose wife’s name was Lisa Gherardini. Meanwhile, “Mona” refers to Madam. Francesco was a friend of the painter’s father.
The painting did not seem to convey any significant social issue. It was a portrait for the sake of aesthetics, per se. For me, the painting is a symbol of being a woman; a fragile and clam woman to be exact—who should be revered in the society.
Associated Press, 19 January 2007.’Mona Lisa’ died in 1542, was buried in convent, Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 19, 2007.
Cohen, P. (2004, June 23). Noisy secret of Mona Lisa’s smile. New Scientist. Journal reference: Vision Research (vol 44, p 1493). Retrieved on June 20, 2006.
de Martino, M. (2003). Mona Lisa – Who is hidden behind the woman with the moustache? Retrieved on June 20, 2006.