The painting of Mona Lisa was painted by famous Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci, and it has been described as the best known, most visited, most written about, most sung about, and most parodied work of art in the world. But, no one really know who is actually Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa is most likely a portrait of a Florentine merchant’s wife, and her look is directed toward her husband. It is believed by some that the Mona Lisa was begun in 1503 or 1504 in Florence. However, the image, for some reason, was never presented to its patron, and Leonardo kept it when he traveled to work for King Francis I of France.

The painting was owned by Francis I and it is added to the royal collection. During the French Revolution (1787–99), insurgents claimed the royal collection as the property of the people, and the image was hidden in French palaces for generations. The Mona Lisa was installed at the Louvre Museum at the turn of the nineteenth century after a spell hanging in Napoleon’s bedroom.

Several experts have debated that the Italian painter made two versions of the painting, because of the uncertainty concerning its dating and commissioner, as well as its fate following Leonardo’s death in 1519, and the difference in details in Raphael’s sketch, which may be explained by the possibility that he sketched from memory.

The painting was stolen in 1911, which created an instantaneous media sensation. Pablo Picasso was arrested as a suspect, but two years later the painting was found, when an art dealer in Florence called the police to report that a man tried to sell the painting. 

It turns out Vincenzo Peruggia, a worker in the Louvre who stole the painting. He and possibly two other workers had hid in a closet overnight, removed the portrait from the wall the next morning, August 21, 1911, and fled without being caught. Then, the portrait returned to France, which can be seen until now. 

In a recent discovery, the copy of Mona Lisa was found in the collection of the Prado in Madrid. Although the backdrop had been painted over, scientific examination proved that the replica was most likely created by another artist who sat next to Leonardo and reproduced his work brush-stroke by brush-stroke. The replica shows how the Mona Lisa may seem if the layers of yellowed varnish were removed.

Until now, the Mona Lisa painting can be seen at the Louvre Paris museum and remains one of the most mysterious and famous paintings in the world.

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