Lisa del Giocondo 1479-1542
Lisa del Giocondo was born Lisa Gherardini.
Francesco di Bartolomeo del
Giocondo, a merchant from Florence.
Hence, the Mona
Lisa is also called La Gioconda.
How did Lisa meet
Leonardo and what makes this painting so
commissioned the painting to celebrate either
the purchase of a new home, or the birth of son
Andrea, or both.
Experts tell us
that this painting set the standard for all
Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as
the Mona Lisa (the Joconde in French)
Height 0.77 m / 30 in. Width 0.53 m / 20 in.
Musée du Louvre
Why exactly did this painting become
The Louvre tells us:
Such aspects of the work as the
three-quarter view of a figure against a
landscape, the architectural setting, and
the hands joined in the foreground were
already extant in Flemish portraiture of the
second half of the 15th century,
particularly in the works of Hans Memling.
However, the spacial coherence, the
atmospheric illusionism, the monumentality,
and the sheer equilibrium of the work were
In fact, these aspects were also new to
Leonardo's work, as none of his earlier
portraits display such controlled majesty.
The Mona Lisa's famous smile represents the
sitter in the same way that the juniper
branches represent Ginevra Benci and the
ermine represents Cecilia Gallerani in their
portraits, in Washington and Krakow
Ginevra de' Benci
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Lady With an Ermine
Leonardo da Vinci
Czartoryski Museum, Krakow
The nature of the landscape also plays a
role. The middle distance, on the same level
as the sitter's chest, is in warm colors.
Men live in this space: there is a winding
road and a bridge.
This space represents the
transition between the space of the sitter
and the far distance, where the landscape
becomes a wild and uninhabited space of
rocks and water which stretches to the
horizon, which Leonardo has cleverly drawn
at the level of the sitter's eyes.
This portrait was painted in Florence
between 1503 and 1506. In 1518, it was acquired by
And here is more about
Leonardo da Vinci.