Assil BoussayriDr. Rusty SpellENG 132.0311thMarch 2021Essay 3 Final VersionMona Lisa’s smileThe Mona Lisa is an oil painting done on a wood panel that is currently placed in the LouvreMuseum in Paris, France. It was painted between the years 1503 to 1519 by the famouspainter Leonardo da Vinci.The aspect of a mysterious smile and identity has made thepainting a subject of investigation in the last few years.("Mona Lisa | Painting, Subject,History, Meaning, & Facts").There have been numerous speculations about the meaning behind Mona Lisa’s smile. Someof which are that the painting is a self-portrait done by Leonardo due to the resemblancebetween the facial features of the painter and the painting. Another speculation is thatLeonardo painted the Mona Lisa based on his own mother. The real identity of the subject ofthe painting is still not proved to this day. ("Mona Lisa | Painting, Subject, History, Meaning,& Facts").It was said that the portrait was of Lisa Gherardini the wife of Francesco Del Giocondo butattempts to prove that have failed. A DNA test and an image recreation was done but theresults were not clear hence nothing was proved. There are only theories floating around withno proof to support them.("Mona Lisa | Painting, Subject, History, Meaning, & Facts").Mona Lisa’s smile is a topic that is hard to get a full understanding of. The debate has alwaysbeen whether she is sad or happy. Most people say it depends on the position you stand at andwhat angle you look at the painting from. A research was done by neurobiologist from1
Harvard. Her research was about the difference in the perception of the eyes. The painting hasmultiple layers on top of each other hence it depends how you look at it. She found that if onelooks at the painting as a whole without focusing on one particular feature it will seem thatthe smile is happy. On the other hand if one focuses particularly on the smile only they willnotice that it looks like a sad smile and some wonder whether the smile exists or not.It is therefore debatable how one looks at the photo. Livingstone looked at the spatialfrequency perception and thinks that there was no way Leonardo was aware of this as theunderstanding of the human bodies was discovered centuries after the painting was created.According to Isaacson, the eyes of Mona Lisa are quite captivating in that they seems tomove with the person that is looking at it. Most people find that if you are looking at the eyesdirectly and you move your position then it seems that the eyes are still looking directly atyou. This effect is called the Mona Lisa effect.