Find Out the Facinating Story of the World’s Most Famous Painting | The Mona Lisa at Louvre

The Mona Lisa, also known as the La Gioconda, is one of the most famous paintings in the world. Worth about $870 million, it holds the record for being the highest valued painting across the globe. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Mona Lisa before your visit to the Louvre.

Timeline | Mona Lisa

  • 1503: Da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa, which will take him about four years to complete.
  • 1514: Leonardo accepts the invitation of Francois I of France and moves into the Cloux manor near Amboise. He allegedly gifts the painting to King Francois I during his stay there.
  • 1519: Da Vinci dies at the age of sixty-seven in France.
  • 1530s: Francois I showcases the Mona Lisa in an art gallery at Fontainebleau.
  • 1800: The Mona Lisa is hung makes its way to the Tuileries Palace and is hung in Napoleon Bonapart's bedroom.
  • 1804: The Mona Lisa is moved to the Grand Gallery of the Louvre.
  • 1910: The Mona Lisa is stolen from the Louvre.
  • 1913:
    November 29: The painting is discovered in the possession of a man named Leonardo Vincenzo.
    December 31: The Mona Lisa is carefully brought back to Paris and re-installed in the Louvre.

Where is the Mona Lisa?

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is located inside the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Because of its high value and its global popularity, it is on display inside the biggest room of the museum, the Salle des États. You can find this room on level 1 of the Denon Wing.

In 2005, the Mona Lisa was placed inside a protective glass case, right in the center of the room. This was because of two reasons - the first being that it is one of the most famous paintings in the world and requires safekeeping and the second was because it was painted on poplar wood instead of on an oil canvas. The wood has warped over the years and even has a crack in it. To avoid further damage, the Mona Lisa is kept in a humidity and temperature-controlled glass case.

Can I see the Mona Lisa?

Mona Lisa

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Who Painted the Mona Lisa?

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the early 16th century. Da Vinci was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and scientist who is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time. 

He was born in 1452 and died in 1519, leaving behind a legacy that still inspires people to this day. He is most famous for his painting of the Mona Lisa, but he also painted other masterpieces such as The Last Supper and The Virgin of the Rocks.

History of the Mona Lisa in a Nutshell

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is the work of renowned artist Leonardo da Vinci. He began working on this masterpiece around 1503 and took a few years to complete it. It remained in his art studio until he died in 1519, after which it was acquired by the French King Francis I. Da Vinci spent the last few years of his life in the King’s court.

It soon became a part of the royal collection of artworks and was kept in the King’s palace for centuries to come. During the French Revolution between 1787 and 1799, people began claiming that the painting was the property of the people. The painting spent some time hanging in the bedroom of Napoleon, following which it was placed inside the Louvre Museum during the 19th century.

Description of the Painting

Mona Lisa

Like most Renaissance depictions of the Virgin Mary, the Mona Lisa also bore a strong resemblance to her. The woman in the painting is seen sitting on an armchair with her hands crossed and placed on her lap. Her iconic gaze is fixed on the eyes of viewers. Da Vinci gave the painting a lifelike appearance by omitting outlines on the figure, a method known as sfumato. 

This was one of the first paintings to depict a person sitting in front of an imaginary landscape in an aerial view. She has no visible eyebrows or eyelashes, although they allegedly were present before but disappeared over time. 

Theft of the Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Shockingly, the most famous painting in the world was stolen from the Louvre Museum in 1911. A handyman named Peruggia was hired by the museum to build protective glass cases for some of its paintings, one of which was the Mona Lisa. The man hid in a nearby closet overnight, slipped the painting under his coat, and made his way out of the museum. 

After 2 years of investigation by the French police, the painting was finally discovered when Peruggia tried to set up a meeting with an art dealer in Florence. When word reached the police, Peruggia was sentenced to seven months in prison.

Interesting Facts About the Mona Lisa

  • Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa on poplar wood instead of a canvas.
  • The Mona Lisa is worth about $870 million and is currently the most expensive painting in the world.
  • The lady in the painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
  • There are many conspiracy theories about the painting, including one that claims da Vinci painted two versions of the Mona Lisa to cover up an illegitimate pregnancy.
  • French Emperor Napoleon hung the painting of the Mona Lisa in his bedroom for about four years in the 1800s.
  • Many vandals have tried to ruin the painting over the years. It is now protected with a firm glass covering.
  • The Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, but it wasn't recovered until 1913 when the thief attempted to sell it.
  • There is a French heritage law that prohibits the painting from being bought or sold.

The Mona Lisa at Louvre Today

The Mona Lisa is one of the most popular paintings in the museum and is always crowded with visitors. If you're planning on visiting the Louvre, make sure to add the Mona Lisa to your list of must-see attractions!

View the Mona Lisa Virtually

'Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass' is the first Virtual Reality project by the Louvre Museum to recreate the artistic process of Da Vinci. This app offers a scintillating experience, making viewers see the famous painting in a brand new light. Anyone can download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Additionally, it is also available on all VR platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Mona Lisa

What is the Mona Lisa?

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings across the globe.

Who painted the Mona Lisa?

The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

When was the Mona Lisa created?

The Mona Lisa was created during the 1500s.

What is the Mona Lisa worth today?

The Mona Lisa is worth about $870 million.

Where is the Mona Lisa?

The Mona Lisa is inside the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

Can I see the Mona Lisa?

Yes. You can take a look at the Mona Lisa on your visit to the Louvre Museum.

What level of the Louvre is Mona Lisa on?

The Mona Lisa is located on the first floor of the Louvre in the Denon Alley.

Who is the girl in the painting of Mona Lisa?

The name of the woman in the painting of Mona Lisa is La Gioconda.

Was the Mona Lisa stolen?

Yes. The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre Museum in 1911.

How many times was the Mona Lisa stolen?

The Mona Lisa has been stolen once, however, it has been vandalised many times.

Who stole the Mona Lisa?

The Mona Lisa was stolen by a handyman hired by the Louvre Museum.

When was the Mona Lisa recovered after its theft?

The Mona Lisa was found in December 1913, two years after its theft.

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?

The Mona Lisa is so famous because it is a masterpiece painting by one of the greatest painters of all time. It is also the most valuable painting across the globe, which contributes to its fame.

What else can I see at the Louvre Museum?

At the Louvre Museum, you can see the Mona Lisa and many other popular paintings, as well as historical artifacts like ancient Greek statues!

Is the Mona Lisa in the Louvre?

Yes, the Mona Lisa was officially moved to the Louvre in 1804.