Leonardo::Mona Lisa: “in the Eye of the Beholder”
“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-04-15 – 1519-05-02) was an Italian Renaissance architect, musician, inventor, engineer, sculptor, and painter. His best known works are: the paintings “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”
“He who thinks little, errs much.” Leonardo
“He who walks straight rarely falls.” Leonardo
“He who possesses most must be most afraid of loss.“ Leonardo
“Patience serves us against insults precisely as clothes do against the cold. For if you multiply your garments as the cold increases, that cold cannot hurt you; in the same way increase your patience under great offences, and they cannot hurt your feelings.” Leonardo
Mona Lisa (The best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world)
“Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting which is heard but not seen.” Leonardo
The painting, thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, is in oil on a poplar panel, and is believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506. It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on permanent display at the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
The ambiguity of the subject’s expression, frequently described as enigmatic,the monumentality of the composition, the subtle modeling of forms and the atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.
Little is known about Lisa’s life. Born in Florence and married in her teens to a cloth and silk merchant who later became a local official, she was mother to five children and led what is thought to have been a comfortable and ordinary middle-class life. Lisa outlived her husband, who was considerably her senior.
“Light is the chaser away of darkness. Shade is the obstruction of light. Primary light is that which falls on objects and causes light and shade. And derived lights are those portions of a body which are illuminated by the primary light. A primary shadow is that side of a body on which the light cannot fall.” Leonardo
The avant-garde art world has made note of the undeniable fact of the Mona Lisa’s popularity. Because of the painting’s overwhelming stature, Dadaists and Surrealists often produce modifications and caricatures.
Already in 1883, Le rire, an image of a Mona Lisa smoking a pipe, by Sapeck (Eugène Bataille), was shown at the “Incoherents” show in Paris.
In 1919, Marcel Duchamp, one of the most influential modern artists, created L.H.O.O.Q., a Mona Lisa parody made by adorning a cheap reproduction with a moustache and a goatee. Duchamp added an inscription, which when read out loud in French sounds like “Elle a chaud au cul” literally translated: “she has a hot ass”, implying the woman in the painting is in a state of sexual excitement and intended as a Freudian joke.
Salvador Dalí, famous for his surrealist work, painted Self portrait as Mona Lisa in 1954.
In 1963 following the painting’s visit to the United States, Andy Warhol created serigraph prints of multiple Mona Lisas called Thirty are Better than One, like his works of Marilyn Monroe (Twenty-five Coloured Marilyns, 1962), Elvis Presley (1964) and Campbell’s soup (1961–1962).
The Last Supper (Italian: Il Cenacolo or L’Ultima Cena) is a late 15th century mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan. The work is presumed to have been commenced around 1495 and was commissioned as part of a scheme of renovations to the church and its convent buildings by Leonardo’s patron Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan.
The painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, as it is told in the Gospel of John, 13:21. Leonardo has depicted the consternation that occurred among the Twelve Disciples when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him.
“The eye — which sees all objects reversed — retains the images for some time.” Leonardo