Some Unknown facts about the very known 'Mona Lisa'

Some Unknown facts about the very known 'Mona Lisa'

Updated on September 02, 2023 17:50 PM by Sally Harbor

Mona Lisa, the half-length portrait painting by Italian artist Leonardo DaVinci became a household name because of its extraordinary features. It is considered archetypal to the Italian Renaissance. The painting has been described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world."

The painting is basically a portrayal of the Italian noblewoman Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting made in the 1500s is one of the most valuable in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest-known painting insurance valuation in history at US$100 million in 1962. 

So here are some unknown facts about the most known painting ever to exist

Mona Lisa is not her actual name 

Yes, everything knows the muse of the painting by the name Mona Lisa, but that is not her actual name. The painting's subject is said to be Lisa Gherardini, whose wealthy and adoring husband, Francesco Del Giocondi, commissioned the work in Florence, Italy, around 1503. This brings us to the fact that the other lesser-known names of the painting include La Gioconda or La Joconde in French. But perhaps, the most known name of the painting Mona Lisa roughly translates to "My Lady Lisa." who definitely was an amazing muse to Leonardo, and maybe he liked her first name very much.

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Napoleon had a big crush on her 

Napoleon, the great french emperor who is known for his bravery and fighting spirit for the french, crushed hard on the lady of Francesco Del Giocondi. History says that he had her painting hanging in his bedroom in the Tuileries Palace for about four years, beginning in 1800. It's said his fascination with the painting inspired his affection for a pretty Italian named Teresa Guadagni, who was actually a descendant of his former crush Lisa Gherardini or the muse in the painting that hung in his room for years. 

She is a heartbreaker 

History has been proof that all the pretty ones are heartbreakers, and yes, so is Mona Lisa, AKA Lisa Gherardini. A lot of known writers who had the opportunity to be born in the same decade as she had written a lot of things in their writings. 

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The portrait was first put on public display in the Louvre in 1815, inspiring admiration as a string of "suitors bearing flowers, poems and impassioned notes climbed the grand staircase of the Louvre to gaze into her 'limpid and burning eyes.'"

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"Mona Lisa often made men do strange things," R.A Scotti had written in his book called Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa, "There were more than one million artworks in the Louvre collection; she alone received her own mail. Mona Lisa received many love letters, and for a time they were so ardent that she was placed under police protection." The painting has its own mailbox at the Louvre because of all the love letters its subject receives.

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Mona Lisa has been attacked and stolen

Yes, you heard it right; the painting of the Mona Lisa has gone through a lot. If you look closely at the muse’s left elbow, you might notice the damage done by Ugo Unaga Villegas, a Bolivian who had thrown a rock at the portrait in 1956. A few months prior to it, another art attacker had pitched acid at the painting, which had hit its lower section. 

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These constant attacks on the painting had inspired the bulletproof glass, which in 2009 successfully rebuffed a ceramic mug hurled by an enraged Russian woman who'd been denied French citizenship.

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Along with these attacks, Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. And when that had happened, France mourned the big steal the same as when Princess Diana passed away. Every French person was mourning the loss of the national heritage, and thousands had poured into the Louvre to stare in shock at the blank wall where she once hung and left flowers, notes, and other remembrances.

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Pablo Picasso: the criminal 

Pablo Picasso had earlier as well been caught stealing valuable pieces from Louvre, so this time when the painting had gone missing, he was one of the first to be questioned. But the true thief would not be caught until 1913, two years after the theft. 

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Louvre employee Vincenzo Perruggia was the culprit who had caused all the Chao. He was a proud Italian nationalist who had smuggled the painting out under his smock because he felt it belonged to his and Leonardo DaVinci’s homeland Italy, and not France. After hiding it for two years, he was finally caught while trying to sell Mona Lisa to an art dealer from Florence. However, he did briefly get his wish fulfilled, and upon her finding, Mona Lisa toured Italy before returning to Paris.

She was not stolen by one but by a group of men 

Though Vincenzi Perrugua was the only one prosecuted for the crime, it’s very unlikely that he could have pulled the act alone as at the time of the theft, the painting was encased in a heavy wood backing and glass case that would have weighed almost 200 pounds, making it highly impossible to be pulled down from the wall by only one person alone. 

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Years later, a man who called himself the Marquis of the Vale of Hell came out and confessed to American reporter Karl Decker that he was the true mastermind behind the theft of the Mona Lisa.


But he also kept a condition that the story he revealed should be kept secret until his death and also added that Peruggia was one of three men paid handsomely to snatch her. This way, the Marquis could sell multiple forgeries of the masterpiece to collectors for exorbitant sums. 

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The beauty of the scam was that each buyer would believe they owned the authentic missing Mona Lisa. Whether the Marquis was telling the truth or not is still a hotly debated topic around the theft.

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