Q:

Why did Leonardo da Vinci paint the "Mona Lisa"?

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Quick Answer

Although the origins of the "Mona Lisa" are shrouded in mystery, scholars believe that Leonardo da Vinci painted his most famous work after it was commissioned to him by Francesco del Giocondo, a silk merchant from Florence. The painting is an oil on canvas portrait of a woman who is believed to be the merchant's wife, Lisa Gherardini.

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Da Vinci started painting the "Mona Lisa" in 1503 and took the canvas with him when he moved to France. He continued to work on it until 1517 and sold it to Francois I. The reason he did not sell it to the person who commissioned it remains a mystery. The "Mona Lisa" hangs in the Musee du Louvre museum in Paris as of 2014, and it is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did Leonardo da Vinci become famous?

    A:

    Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, theorist, sculptor and artist who became famous for his works that included "Leda and the Swan," "The Last Supper," "Mona Lisa" and "Virgin of the Rocks." His achievements made him a leading figure in the Italian Renaissance.

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  • Q:

    When was the "Mona Lisa" painted?

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    It is estimated that Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa in Florence, Italy during the years 1503 to 1506. It is further estimated that he continued to work on the piece until the year 1517.

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  • Q:

    Who painted the "Mona Lisa"?

    A:

    Leonardo da Vinci painted the "Mona Lisa" in the early 1500s. The model is believed to be Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. This masterpiece also is referred to as "La Gioconda," which is a play on her husband's name and the Italian word for "the jovial one."

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  • Q:

    What was the purpose of the "Mona Lisa"?

    A:

    Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" was a commemoration of either the purchase of Francesco del Giocondo and his wife Lisa Gherardini's first home in 1503 or the birth of the couple's second son, Andrea, in 1502. In the 1960s and 1970s, the portrait served as a diplomatic tool.

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