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Where Does the Name "Mona Lisa" Come from?

The original spelling of the famous portrait by Leonardo da Vinci is "Monna Lisa" which means "My Lady Lisa" in Italian. "Mona Lisa," however, is how it is known in the English speaking world due to a simple spelling error.

The Mona Lisa is believed to be the painting of Lisa Gherardini who was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a cloth merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting. It is sometimes alternatively referred to as "La Gioconda" in Italian referring to Lady Lisa's husband. Leonardo da Vinci painted the portrait between 1503 and 1506.

The Mona Lisa is perhaps the most famous artwork in the world. It is an oil painting on a wooden panel which Leonardo da Vinci made using a painting style called "sfumato" or "smoky finish." The Mona Lisa has been displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France since 1793.

More about the Mona Lisa:

  • Some of the brushwork of the Mona Lisa is so small that even an X-ray cannot catch it.
  • There are up to 30 layers of paint on the Mona Lisa.
  • The Mona Lisa was hidden during World War II to make sure it would not be damaged or destroyed by the war.
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