Leonardo da Vinci undertook the task of painting the Mona Lisa, an oil painting on canvas, as a commission from Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy Florentine silk merchant. The painting was to be a portrait of Giocondo's wife, Lisa del Giocondo, which the couple intended to hang in their new home to celebrate the birth of their new son, Andrea.
Leonardo began his painting in 1503 and continued his work for three years. He then kept the painting in his possession for several years and did not complete it until 1519. He took the painting with him from Italy to France when he moved at the invitation of Francois I. Da Vinci eventually sold the painting to Francois I for 4,000 ecus. It is not known why the painting was not given to Francesco del Giocondo, the man who originally commissioned the work, or to his wife, Lisa del Giocondo, who sat for the portrait.
The Mona Lisa transferred hands several times and has had many homes, including the Palace of Versailles, Napoleon's bedroom in the Tuileries Palace and the Louvre in Paris. As of 2014, the Mona Lisa has found a permanent home in the Musée de Louvre in Paris, France.Learn More
It took Leonardo da Vinci a total of 12 years to paint the lips of the Mona Lisa. But there is much debate about the length of time that it actually took.Full Answer >
A big reason for the popularity of the "Mona Lisa" is the fact that it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. The image of the painting was placed on newspapers all over the world during the search for it, making it the most recognizable painting in the world.Full Answer >
The "Mona Lisa" is part of the permanent collection of the Louvre Museum in Paris. As of 2014, the painting is located on the first floor of the Louvre's Denon Wing in the Mona Lisa Room.Full Answer >
Most art historians agree that the woman portrayed in the "Mona Lisa" is Lisa Gherardini. She was the wife of notable Florentine cloth merchant Francesco del Giocondo, from whose name derives one of the painting's alternative titles, "La Gioconda."Full Answer >