1503 - 1506
Leonardo da Vinci
The other day a deranged Russian woman threw a cup at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, but the painting was protected by bullet proof glass, and the woman wasn't able to do any damage. Why would anyone throw a cup at the Mona Lisa? Apparently the woman was frustrated because she had been denied French citizenship. Maybe she felt the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa was mocking her. Here was this woman, Mona Lisa Gioconda, permanently ensconced in the most famous museum in the world, in the most beautiful city in the world, and the Russian woman was not permitted to become a French national. People do strange things.
The Mona Lisa is arguably the most famous painting done by the genius Leonardo da Vinci. I have seen the Mona Lisa, and I was surprised that it was smaller than I had imagined (30.2 × 20.9 in). It was painted on a panel of poplar wood, and it appears quite dark. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by the Mona Lisa. I personally do not like the painting. Something about it disturbs me, and I'm not sure what it is. To me, the background looks as if it is sketched it -- sort of as some type of filler, to make the Mona Lisa appear closer to us. And I don't like the artificiality of the background. There is something a bit odd about the winding road leading off into the distance. It disturbs me. But the Mona Lisa's expression interests me. I wonder what she was thinking, and all these centuries later, to me she appears very much alive.
The thing that has always fascinated me about the Mona Lisa is this: If she were alive today, she would not be considered beautiful by today's standards. Plastic surgeons would probably have a field day with her. Her lips would be plumped up with some type of lip augmentation fillers. Her nose would be shortened and artificially turned up at the end. They would probably tattoo some sort of eyebrows on her, and her eyelashes would be extended with artificial extensions. Her hair would probably be highlighted to some copper color not known in the natural world. But then she would no longer be the Mona Lisa, would she? She would be someone else. So, I rather like her just the way she is -- natural. I'm glad her face and her mysterious gaze will live on for many more centuries to come.