Mona Lisa

Set on a canvas of Poplar Wood, "Mona Lisa" is said to be the most famous and mystifying painting Leonardo da Vinci ever painted. Leonardo began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503, and is said to have carried it with him throughout his travels, working and reworking it for over four years. Only upon his death did he part with his painting, leaving it with a close friend. He is also credited with inventing the style of painting known as "Sfumato", an Italian word when literally translated means, "vanished or evaporated."
Sfumato is a "technique characterized by indistinct contours that lends a hazy or smoky appearance to the image, and is often used to create an illusion of distance similar to atmospheric perspective." We can readily see this depicted in the soft fusing of tone on tone, specifically, around her eyes and mouth. Up to this time, the idea of a three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface had never been accomplished. In Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", this idea is realized and he has captured three-dimensional space and form that is extremely advanced for his time.
Many think Mona Lisa is actually Lisa di Antonio Maria di Noldo Gherardini, the wife of Nobleman Francesco di Bartolommeo di Zanobi del Giocondo, who personally requested Leonardo to paint her. Others simply believe that she is the culmination of all womanhood, as defined by Leonardo's imagination.
Although there are many theories about the Mona Lisa, especially her elusive smile, one theory in particular is worth notable mention. Dr. Margaret Livingstone, a Harvard Neuroscientist and authority on visual processing,first began studying the painting at the request of a colleague. Upon staring at the picture, she noticed "a kind of flickering quality". Her theory is based on how "the human visual system is designed…especially how the eye and brain deal with different levels of c


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