5 Things You Didn't Know About the Mona Lisa

It might be the world's best-known painting, but it still has a few secrets

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Leonardo di ser Piero DA VINCI, dit Léonard de Vinci (1452 - 1519), Paris, musée du Louvre의 Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as "Monna Lisa, la Gioconda" or "Mona Lisa", 1503-1519(1503/1519)원본 출처: Paris, Louvre Museum

I'd know that face anywhere

The Mona Lisa is, in the words of one critic, "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." It's hard to argue with that, but how much do you really know about this unmistakable masterpiece?

One of a kind?

Actually, there's at least four different versions painted by Leonardo da Vinci and his students. But the one we all know and love is at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. The others can be found at the Prado Museum and in numerous private collections.

Fame isn't easy

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Mona Lisa was actually relatively unknown. Until 1911, that is, when it was stolen from the Louvre. The high profile theft, and the appeals for its return, ironically helped publicise and popularise the painting.

Gjon Mili의 Picasso Drawing With Light(1949)LIFE Photo Collection

Sacre bleu!

The French poet Guillaume Apollinaire came under suspicion and was arrested and imprisoned. Apollinaire implicated his friend Pablo Picasso, who was brought in for questioning. Thankfully, the pair were soon cleared of all charges.

Leonardo di ser Piero DA VINCI, dit Léonard de Vinci (1452 - 1519), Paris, musée du Louvre의 Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as "Monna Lisa, la Gioconda" or "Mona Lisa", 1503-1519(1503/1519)원본 출처: Paris, Louvre Museum

Can I start the bidding?

How much is the Mona Lisa worth? Well, it's recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as having the most expensive insurance policy in history, valued at $100 million in 1962, equivalent to $650 million in 2018. But, as the French aren't selling, it's literally priceless.

Where in the world?

The painting depicts a woman sat in front of a mountainous landscape. Some have claimed the towering mountains show the influence of chinese artists, but it's thought by most to be the Val di Chiana, a valley in Tuscany.

Congratulations!

If you look closely, you can see she's actually wearing a veil. Bruno Mottin, an expert at the Louvre, believes this is a guarnello, which was traditionally used by women while pregnant or just after giving birth.

Pierre Boulat의 Photography: Travel & Architectural (Expressions Of Tourists Looking At The Smile Of Mona Lisa)(1972-02)LIFE Photo Collection

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