Encyclopaedia Britannica

Why Is the Mona Lisa So Famous?

Alicja Zelazko

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Five centuries after Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa (1503–19), the portrait hangs behind bulletproof glass within the Louvre Museum and draws thousands of jostling spectators each day. It is the most famous painting in the world, and yet, when viewers manage to see the artwork up close, they are likely to be baffled by the small subdued portrait of an ordinary woman...

Book Cover for "Why Is the Mona Lisa So Famous?"

PREVIEW

Five centuries after Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa (1503–19), the portrait hangs behind bulletproof glass within the Louvre Museum and draws thousands of jostling spectators each day. It is the most famous painting in the world, and yet, when viewers manage to see the artwork up close, they are likely to be baffled by the small subdued portrait of an ordinary woman...