Who was the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa?
Unfortunately, one of the mysteries of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is who was the model was a Male or Female? What age was the model? Where was the model from? Was it his wife? Did da Vinci know the model? We may never know who the model is and of course some may say why does this matter anyway right?
One thing we know for certain is that this portrait has led to many discussions. One discussion is about the Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile. I am sure you have thought about that part yourself. I often have wondered who was this model in such a wonderful piece of art? When I look at the different masterpieces myself that other Historical artists have painted, I often ask myself this same question being who was their model or models? Also, how do these famous artists select their models? Is it their wife, themselves, mistresses, children, lovers, worker, apprentice, grandparent, high school sweetheart, coworker, neighbors, people randomly picked off the street? When the artists select a model or models, what is the artist looking for in the models? What method are the looking in their selection for a model? Are they looking at some unique feature? Unique features such as their smiles, such that the smile is mysterious, sexy, sad or interesting?
When I go the the art museum, I like to look at the famous paintings from all different angles. Do you find yourself doing that as well? When I recently went to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, one of the first things I did was to walk into a room and look at the paintings from a distance. This is sometimes a hard thing to do, especially when the room is large. When the room is large, how do you really know which masterpiece to look at first. I usually look around to see which one intrigues me the most. When I find the one that interests me the most, I then look at them straight on. I often like to talk to the docents to find out what they like about the certain pieces displayed at their art museum. The docent is the true expert as they should know which pieces are the most interesting and any unusual facts about the paintings. I wonder what was the artist thinking before they started to paint on their canvas. Is there a hidden agenda on their canvas that we may never know such as the hidden identity of who their model is?
Most scholars think that da Vinci’s Mona Lisa may be his wife but have you ever thought it could really be one of his apprentices? Perhaps da Vinci had a companion that was even a male and this was the person who da Vinci drew in this well known painting? Was the model Salai who had been a model for Leonardo in several of his other paintings? So the question really is then who was the model and was it a male?
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I also wander around quickly before going to particular paintings… I think most exhibitions have too many paintings to be admired at the same time; it’s impossible for the brain to stay focused in front of so many things…
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