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15 Facts About Da Vinci's Mona Lisa You Didn't Know

Take a long look at these 15 facts about Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  June 19th 2022

PLEASE DELETE AFTER READING WITH THE FOLLOWING... Facts article should start with a small 50-100 word paragraph summing up the topic of the facts. Dependant on the topic this summary paragraph will differ, for example for a celebrity it would discuss who they are, why they are famous etc., whereas an animal post would give the basic info of that animal, such as where they are from, what animal group they belong to, how big they grow. Overall, any relevant general information that is not included within the fun facts should be mentioned in this short paragraph

1. Mona Lisa is Not Her Real Name!

The woman in the painting’s real name was Lisa Gherardini. The title Mona Lisa roughly translates to “My Lady Lisa.” in Italian. It was commissioned by her husband, an exceedingly wealthy merchant and painted by Leonardo da Vinci, the greatest artist of all time, even counting YouTuber Moriah Elizabeth.

2. The Mona Lisa has a Strange Smile!

Is she smiling, or isn’t she? The Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile has charmed art lovers for centuries. It’s painted so well that her expression changes depending on where you stand. Good work Leo!

3. Napoleon went a bit weird about the Mona Lisa!

If trying to conquer Europe wasn’t crazy enough, the French emperor Napoleon once became weirdly obsessed with the Mona Lisa hanging on his bedroom wall. The tiny French despot was so charmed by her beauty that he later fell in love with an Italian named Teresa Guadagni, a descendent of the actual Mona Lisa. 

4. The Mona Lisa is Surprisingly Small!

It’s only 30 inches high. Size isn’t everything though; recent valuations estimated the paintings worth at $2.5 billion, which is enough to buy eleven Neymars. Unlike Neymar, the Mona Lisa’s value increases with age.

5. The Mona Lisa Doesn’t Have Any Eyebrows!

Some experts say that shaved eyebrows were the fashion of the time. Others say that this is further proof that the Mona Lisa wasn’t finished. Recent X-Rays show that Leonardo had painted eyebrows at one stage and then decided to paint over them. Maybe that will make you feel better next time you make a mistake painting? Even Leonardo Da Vinci makes mistakes!

6. It wasn’t just Napoleon who fell in love with Mona Lisa!

When she first went on display in the Louvre in Paris, she became their only work of art to receive love letters from besotted art fans! In a way, she was the BTS of her time (if BTS were a painting of an Italian lady with no eyebrows)

7. The Mona Lisa Is Under High Security!

So don’t go getting any ideas about stealing it! The Mona Lisa hangs in Louvre Art Gallery in Paris. It is contained in a climate-controlled, bulletproof glass case to prevent threat and injury.

8. The Mona Lisa Has Been Attacked!

The Mona Lisa has been the victim of a number of violent attacks! A Bolivian art vandal a threw lump of rock at the portrait in 1956; Someone splashed acid on it and an angry Russian lady threw a mug at the painting. Seems like the bulletproof caser was a good idea! Most recently, someone smeared cake on the glass case, but that wasn’t such a big deal.

9. The Mona Lisa Has Been Stolen!

On August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre! The people of Paris were horrified, and the city fell into mourning. People even came to the gallery to look at the bare wall where the painting once hung!

10. Pablo Picasso was suspected of stealing the painting!

Naughty Pablo had a record of receiving stolen paintings, but this theft was too crazy for even an artist who draws everybody looking in two directions at once. He had nothing to do with stealing The Mona Lisa and would later become an artist almost as famous as Leonardo himself!

11. But It Wasn’t a One-Man Job!

Even though the Mona Lisa is quite small for a priceless painting, it’s thought that the heavy frame and wooden backing of the painting would’ve needed at least two people to lift it over the wall. Pablo Picasso, perhaps? No! Some years later, somebody calling themselves the Marquis of the Vale of Hell claimed to be the mastermind behind the theft, saying that, once the painting had been stolen, he’d sneakily sold three copies to different criminals around the world! The perfect crime!

12. Leonardo Made The Background Up!

The background shown behind the Mona Lisa is made up by Leonardo da Vinci. The curves of the hills are perfectly designed to mimic and compliment the shape of the Mona Lisa’s body.

13. Is the Mona Lisa a Self Portrait of Leonardo?

Can it really be true that Leonardo painted a feminine version of himself and this has become the most famous woman ever painted? Some historians believe this to be the case, and there are similarities between Leonardo's face and the face of the Mona Lisa. However, if the story about the artwork being commissioned by the rich merchant husband of Lisa Gherardini is to be believed, he would have probably asked for his money back when he unveiled the painting!

14. The Mona Lisa’s Not Painted on Canvas

Unlike lots of famous artworks, the Mona Lisa isn’t painted on Canvas. It’s not even painted on fancy art paper. Instead, Leonardo used a plank of wood which is excellent upcycling!

15. The Mona Lisa is The Most Visited Painting In The World

The Mona Lisa is visited by 10 Million people per year! That’s why when you go to see it in the Louvre, you’re often peering over peoples heads to catch a glimpse of that enigmatic smile. Is it worth it? Just ask Napolean, Vincenzo Peruggia and the Marquis of the Vale of Hell!