The Mysterious Mona Lisa

This weekend I was whisked away for the weekend to Paris. Aswell as the paranormal, I love good historical mysteries.

On my vacation there we decided to visit the Louvre, a museum based in Paris, featured in the Tom Hanks movie ‘ANGELS AND DEMONS, THE DAVINCI CODE’. Here is where the most famous work of art in the world is displayed as seen on the film The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Over the years many have speculated theories on the painting and analysed it, which has only risen more questions rather than answers.

Here are the 7 mysteries that surround Mona Lisa

Who was she or was it a HE?

1 – Over the past century, it has been proposed that Mona Lisa was a noblewoman – Isabella d’Este, Marquise of Mantua, or Costanza d’Avalos, Duchess of Francavilla but many speculate it was Leonardo da Vinci himself, or the man who was for 20 years his assistant (and perhaps his lover), Gian Giacomo Caprotti. These days, most experts agree that the Mona Lisa is a portrait of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, wife of a Florentine silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo but there is still an uncertainty.


2 – In 2010, Silvano Vinceti, chairman of Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage, claimed to have discerned letters minutely painted on Mona Lisa’s eyes: L and V (Leonardo da Vinci’s initials) in the right eye, and perhaps C, E or B in the left. The Louvre responded that Vinceti’s letters were simply microscopic cracks in the paint.


3 – The distant, dreamlike vista behind Mona Lisa’s head seems to be higher on the right-hand side than on the left. It is hard to see how the landscape would join up. This is subliminally unsettling: Mona Lisa appears taller, more erect, when one’s gaze drifts to the left than when it is on the right.

Happy or sad?

4 – In 2000, scientists at Harvard University suggested a neurological explanation for Mona Lisa’s elusive smile. When a viewer looks at her eyes, the mouth is in peripheral vision, which sees in black and white. This accentuates the shadows at the corners of her mouth, making the smile seem broader. But the smile diminishes when you look straight at it. It is the variability of her smile, the fact that it changes when you look away from it, that makes her seem so alive, so mysterious.


5 -The Mona Lisa’s background landscape seems unreal, but the bridge might be one that Leonardo knew. It is usually said to be Ponte Buriano in Tuscany, but in 2011, a researcher claimed it depicts the Bobbio Bridge over the Trebbia, which was washed away in a flood in 1472.


6. Leonardo da Vinci worked on the painting for four years, and possibly at intervals after that. He always took it with him when he travelled, and he never signed or dated it. The picture went with him when, towards the end of his life, he moved to France.
It was sold to his last patron, King François I, and remained out of sight in the royal collection for almost 200 years. In 1799 Napoleon came across the painting and commandeered it for his bedroom. Only in 1804 did the Mona Lisa go on public display – in the newly founded Louvre Museum. At that time, it was not seen as particularly interesting, but in the middle of the 19th century Leonardo’s stock as an artist slowly rose.


7. Mona Lisa has often been scrutinised by medical experts. In 2010, an Italian doctor looked at the swelling around her eyes and diagnosed excess cholesterol in her diet. Other conditions ascribed to her include facial paralysis, deafness, even syphilis.

More happily, it has been suggested that the look of contentment on her face indicates she is pregnant. Dentists have also posited bruxism, compulsive grinding of the teeth; or that the line of her top lip suggests that her front teeth are missing – which, along with the faintest hint of a scar on her lip, raises the possibility that she was a victim of domestic violence.

I was extremely lucky to get as close as I did to it, it is guarded with security and a barrier around it. I would have loved to have a close look at its detail and observe it a little more closely. It does feel quite an important painting, I am not sure if that is because it is world-famous and because I know that but it does. It looks and feels grand and is a truly fascinating piece.

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