Perhaps this is because it is such a famous painting and in those days I was into quizzes a lot and was expected to know that it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503. It was only gradually that I came to…
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I find the facial expression of Mona Lisa somewhat vague and enigmatic as if there is some mystery behind her half smile. Her calm pose suggests the same. Her eyes and hair too have an innate power to attract the viewer. This is one of the special features of the painting because it is remarkable how Leonardo managed to capture such an emotional state within a portrait. It is not so much the attention to detail such as the folds on her sleeves for example, but capturing this mysterious expression and use of the sfumato (gentle toning down) (Queiros-Conde 2004) technique overall that demonstrates his true greatness as a painter. Others have described the painting in a similar way too but I do not believe it is hype. If the story about trying to amuse Mona before making her portrait (Vasari 2006) is true this shows in her expression but I still believe there is more hidden beneath the surface. Perhaps there is some truth concerning the recent nude Mona Lisa discovery (Lorenzi 2009). Its parallels with the original Mona Lisa could indicate that the painter and the painted had a special rapport and liking for each other. If so, this explains much of the natural yet mysterious expressions of the Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa is a good example of the High Renaissance style because like the paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo, it is a portraiture and work of beauty showing an “artist’s individual skills and vision” (pbs.org). This was the typical style of painting at the time besides art for historical and religious purposes. “The idea that painters and sculptors might create from personal inspiration was new” (ibid) during the Renaissance period. But what makes the painting characteristically a work of Leonardo da Vinci are the painstaking effort that must have gone into it, the skilful use of the sfumato, the careful portrayal of perspective, and the strong sense of imagination coupled with
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