Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is a painting that hardly needs an introduction, but perhaps a few words on why you should see it – and you definitely should – will whet your appetite for an image that is so ubiquitous it often seems a little commonplace.
The Mona Lisa is not the most artistically accomplished painting in Louvre, nor the most beautiful, it’s not the most emotive or even the most awe inspiring.
He painted the Mona Lisa with a technique of his own devising called “Sfumato” in which he layered coats of semi-transparent paint washes one on top of another to create a sense of three dimensions using light and dark.
Mona Lisa’s smile has been the subject of countless works of art criticism, mostly because of the ambivalence that it suggests.
Finally, and more prosaically, the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and not recovered for a full two years – leading the world to believe one of its finest works of artistic heritage was lost forever.