Monday 12 December 2011

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is an oil painting on poplar painted by Leonardo Da Vinci between 1503 and 1519.  The woman in the painting, Lisa del Gioconda, was the wife of a silk merchant in Florence, Italy, known for her demure smile.  The Mona Lisa did not achieve its famous status until the mid-18th Century.  It has had many homes over the last 500 years including the Chateau Fontainebleau, the Palace of Versailles and Napoleon's bedroom and the Louvre Museum.  On August 21, 1911, the valued object d'art was stolen from the Louvre by an Italian nationalist named Vincenzo Peruggia who posed as a janitor, aided by a group of accomplices.  However, it was recovered in Signor Peruggia's hotel room on this day in 1913 and returned to its rightful place in the French museum.  The art thief served a 14-month jail term for the robbery. During World War II, the painting narrowly escaped the Nazis, being moved from hiding place to hiding place.  Today, the Mona Lisa remains in the Louvre under bulletproof glass, the most famous painting in the world.

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