top of page

Why Is The Mona Lisa So Famous?

We have all somehow heard of the Mona Lisa painting since it has become one of the most famous paintings in the world. With thousands of documentaries made and books written, the Mona Lisa is one of the most well-known paintings of the globe. But what makes this artwork so special? And how did it become so incredibly famous?

Leonardo Da Vinci, an Italian painter, painted the Mona Lisa between the years 1503 and 1506. When he went to Florence, he was painting portraits for wealthy people. A silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo was one of his customers and he wanted Leonardo to paint a portrait of his wife. Leonardo started painting the portrait of Lisa Gherardini del Giodondo in 1503. In the painting, she is seated upright with her arms folded. The landscape behind her is painted with the help of aerial perspective which makes it look like the landscape is far away. She is wearing a sheer black headpiece. This is because The Mona Lisa was painted the year that Lisa lost her daughter. She is known for her ‘mysterious smile’ which was achieved by Leonardo’s technique of blending the corners of the mouth and the corner of the eyes. This also created a very realistic image making it look like there is an actual person staring at the viewer. All these techniques were a big asset to the painting’s success, however, they were not the reason the painting got famous. So, out of all the other paintings, why is the Mona Lisa the most famous one? The answer lies in the history of the painting. In 1911, even though the painting was displayed in the Louvre museum, it was not really known among people. On the 21st of August 1911, the painting was stolen from the museum by an employee, Vincenzo Peruggia. His job was to install a glass case on the painting. He got the painting, hid it in his coat, and left the museum. The painting has a small size so it was able to fit in his coat and security in museums was not as strict as they are now so it was not hard for him to steal the masterpiece. Peruggia believed that Leonardo’s painting should have been in Italy and did not approve of it being in a French museum. The police started an investigation and even though Peruggia was on the list of suspects, he was not found guilty so he was set free. The investigation continued on but no one was able to find the thief. After this incident, people began to really wonder about what had happened and started paying close attention to the painting. As the search continued, the painting got more and more famous. Suddenly, the Mona Lisa was everywhere. On pillows, rugs, mugs, gum packages… Peruggia kept the painting hidden for 2 years. He then contacted Alfredo Geri, an antique collector, to let him know that he had the painting. Geri contacted the police, and Peruggia was arrested and then put in jail for a year. After that, the Mona Lisa was put back in the Louvre and became the most famous painting of all time. On the first day, the painting was displayed in the Louvre, over 100.000 people came to see it. After the painting got famous, there were also a lot of theories made about it, such as having numbers or letters in it with secret meanings. A large number of films and books were made regarding the secrets of the portrait making people believe that they were real. There has been a lot of research made about the theories and it has been confirmed that all of them were in fact false. The painting now holds the Guinness World Record of the highest painting insurance valuation with 870 million dollars.

Even if the theories made about The Mona Lisa are not true, it still has an exciting history that led to it being so famous. People all around the world still come to see the painting today.

Work Cited:

Uygarlığın Ayak İzleri, Rönesans’tan Barok Dönem’e Sanat Dehaları, Celil Sadık, epsilon yayınları


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page