Below information collect from BBC News Organization, read what
they wrote about Mona Lisa.
Theories about what lies behind the Mona Lisa's famously enigmatic
smile appear regularly every few years.
In this century alone, scientists have attributed it to a trick of
the light, to a trick of the human eye, that she was constipated and, this
week, to the suggestion that she was in the family way.
French scientists say that, by laser scanning, they have uncovered
a fine gauze veil on the dress of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous muse.
This was something that either soon-to-be or new mothers wore in 16th Century
It's not the first time the pregnancy theory has been aired. In 1959,
a British doctor insisted the Mona Lisa had a "puffy neck" caused by an
enlarged thyroid gland, a sure sign of impending motherhood.
The enigma of her smile is summed up in the Italian word sfumato.
It means ambiguous, nebulous, up to the imagination. This is why, for many,
Mona Lisa smiles with her eyes, rather than her mouth.
Sigmund Freud saw the "smile" as signifying Leonardo's erotic attraction
to his mother. Others interpret it as a sign of innocence.
Mona Lisa is sometimes also known as La Giaconda because she was
believed to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the wealthy Florentine silk
merchant, Francesco del Giocondo.
This parody is made from burnt toast
In Italian, Giocondo also means light-hearted, as in jocund in English.
So, because of her smile, this name has a double-meaning: a trick of the
tongue, you might say.
There have been many theories too as to the Mona Lisa's identity.
In 2002, one art historian named her as the Italian Countess Caterina Sforza,
a famous courtesan who probably died of syphilis. No smiling matter there.
Previous theories mused that she was Leonardo's mother, various members
of the Italian aristocracy, a feminised version of Leonardo himself and,
less seriously, a distant ancestor of Sonia from EastEnders.
Research in 2004, however, backs the original Lisa Gherardini theory.
It was recently discovered that Leonardo's father knew Lisa's father very
well and her portrait was probably commissioned by him.
Aged 24 when Leonardo began painting her in 1503, she outlived her
husband and bore five children. The artist was still working on the painting
when he emigrated to France in 1516 and is believed to have finished it
three years later, just before he died.
The painting has remained in France ever since and is owned by the
state. It once hung in Napoleon's bedroom.
In artistic terms, the Mona Lisa is famed for its simplicity and
for the subtlety of the transitions of tone and colour. The landscape behind
the subject, the rocks of the Arno valley and the winding river and road,
are echoed in the lines of her veil and hair.
This is taken to represent the Renaissance idea that the human form
is a part of the earth itself, and a microcosm of God's creation. It enabled
Leonardo to exhibit the genius of his sfumato techniques.
Yet, amid so many painting masterpieces, how did the Mona Lisa get
to become the most famous painting in the world? Why do six million people
flock to the Louvre in Paris to see it each year?
Many viewers are disappointed at the Mona Lisa's small size
It was largely forgotten until the 19th Century Symbolist movement
made much of it, interpreting it as an embodiment of femininity and female
Then, in 1911, its fame increased when it was stolen from the Louvre
in order that copies could be made by an expert forger and sold as the
original. This never took place and the painting was recovered two years
later when the thief tried to sell it.
In 1956, its stock increased further when someone threw acid at it,
badly damaging part of it. In the same year someone else threw a rock at
By now it had become a cultural icon, the ultimate expression of
beauty, the subject of countless popular songs as well as parodies, most
notably by the Dadaist painter Marcel Duchamp, and by the pop artist Andy
The painting was even used as a diplomatic device. When tensions
arose between the US and France in the early 1960s, the Mona Lisa was lent
to America as a gesture of goodwill, and was famously visited by Jackie
Later, it toured Japan and the Soviet Union.
Somehow the Mona Lisa's artistic merit appears to have got buried
in the avalanche of seemingly endless analysis of its subject's identities
and the mechanics of her smile.
Such is the plethora of oversized reproductions of it that most tourists
seem disappointed when they see how small it actually is, according to
Yet it is the enigma that is the Mona Lisa that will see it continue
as an object of fascination, sheltering it from the ever-changing perceptions