The Science Behind the Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci is an Italian Renaissance painter who is considered one of the greatest artists in the world. He was the literally embodiment of a humanist, a renaissance concept that aimed for men to be proficient in many fields of study. He created extensive works and had many notes on everything. He even wrote his notes backwards, often called mirror writing, both to challenge himself and apparently to hide his scientific ideas from the Catholic Church.

Da Vinci is known to us as an artist, but he was also a scientist, architect, sculpture, engineer, and so much more. One of his most famous paintings is the Mona Lisa, created in 1503 between 1506, currently in the Louvre Museum. This work is believed to the Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco Giocondo, a noblemen in Florence. Apparently, da Vinci incorporated his study of anatomy, chemistry, and optics into this work to create a lively appearance.

Mona_Lisa, Leonardo_da_Vinci

Over the years I’ve heard theories of how Mona Lisa’s eyes follow you as you walk around it (creepy). I’ve heard people wondering about Mona Lisa’s smile: is she smiling? Is she not? What exactly is she expressing? Etc. I also once heard that the Mona Lisa may be a self portrait of da Vinci as a woman.

On youtube, I found this brief video created by the Atlantic that goes over the concepts and ideas that da Vinci incorporated into the Mona Lisa making it unique and appealing.

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