Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for 15 years and just before his death in 1519 he still considered it unfinished. When it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 one of the chief suspects was Picasso.
|Leonardo da Vinci
|1503–1506, perhaps continuing until 1517
|Oil on poplar panel
|77 cm × 53 cm (30 in × 21 in)
|The Louvre Museum, Paris
Who is Lisa Gherardini ?
Lisa del Giocondo was an Italian noblewoman and member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany. Her name was given to the Mona Lisa, her portrait commissioned by her husband, Giogio and painted by Leonardo da Vinci.
The painting is thought to have been commissioned for their new home, and to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea.
It is considered an archetypal masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, and has been described as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.
After the French Revolution, the painting was moved to the Louvre, but spent a brief period in the bedroom of Napoleon. On 21 August 1911, the painting was stolen from the Louvre. First suspect was Pablo Picasso, who was brought in for questioning. The real culprit was Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia, who had helped construct the painting’s glass case. He carried out the theft by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet, and walking out with the painting hidden under his coat after the museum had closed.
Before the 1962–1963 tour, the painting was assessed for insurance at $100 million (equivalent to $650 million in 2018). The insurance was not purchased; instead, more was spent on security.
In 2014, a France 24 article suggested that the painting could be sold to help ease the national debt, although it was noted that the Mona Lisa and other such art works were prohibited from being sold due to French heritage law.