If The Mona Lisa Could Speak……

       Of course, the Mona Lisa can’t actually speak, and it may be crazy to even think of that happening, but she speaks in so many different ways. According to McKay, in the 15th Century the individual portrait emerged as a distinct artistic genre because of what they represented. For example McKay, explains how a paintings of scenes of  romantic chivalry or society is less valuable compared to a portrait which could show more human ideals in a more realistic styles. The point of people having a self portrait of themselves was because “they were self conscious of their physical uniqueness and wanted their individuality immortalized”(McKay).
The Mona Lisa, has definite immortality and has spoken to so many people through so many years. The portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo (a wealthy Florentine silk merchant) has so many messages hidden inside of it, but the messages are confusing ones. Her smile sends different messages, it has a look of happiness but also a look of sadness and hurt. According to McKay, Giorgio Vasari her smile is divine rather than human.
The Mona Lisa in my eyes, is very interesting because I must look deep into the picture itself to see whats so special about it. The expression she has in the portrait at first shows a simple smirk/smile, but when I look closley at the lips and her eyes I see sadness. The expression could be a good one, or a sign of hurt. The Mona Lisa also shows how talented Leonardo Divinci was at making the focus of the picture look so real, with an almost real woman in the front of the picture with a less realistic background so it make her look so much more real, it’s almost as if she is still living.
Through James Gardner’s eyes (a writer, who wrote an article on the Mona Lisa ) “ The face expresses unparalleled naturalism, yet it remains larglely an androgynous type, one that recurs in Leonardo’s ‘Virgin of the rock’ and in his depiction of St.John”. Her simple expression is so mysterious because no one knows what she is thinking or feeling. The veil she wears over her head in the picture is supposed to be a sign of mourning. This picture was believed to be made between the time of when her child had recently died and her new child had been born.

The positions she is in, is the pose that photographers use today, still. The mastery of The secret to her expression will never be solved, but i’m sure she will continue to be a mystery the world. the pose, shows how advanced Leonardo was for his time period.

 It is also an interesting saying, that if while looking at the Mona Lisa, if you cover the left side of her face, she looks happy, but if you cover the other side of her face you see sadness.

     It is also an interesting saying, that if while looking at the Mona Lisa, if you cover the left side of her face, she looks happy, but if you cover the other side of her face you see sadness.






McKay, John P. A History of Western Society. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Print.



  1. janine248

    Hi there, really interesting post! I have seen the Mona Lisa in person, and I wish I had known what to look for before hand. Do you think this influence of an almost scientific awareness of drawing can be taught, or is it only for an artistic genius? What kinds of things can we infer about humankind when looking at a painting of a person, who is sad and happy?


    • hiawatha123

      I think it can be taught, but the person has to be intersted in the art to have that view if not, then no, and the kind of emotion people show in their portraits could be messages they are trying to send. Like for example usually the portraits of women back then were made for their husbands so if they look sad maybe they are trying to tell their husband that..if that makes sence.

  2. josh1818

    Hey Hiawatha,
    Really good job with the post. It’s not easy analyzing one of the most famous paintings of all time, but you did a terrific job. I really liked reading how you looked at her expressions with her eyes and smile and what they really mean. Do you think her expressions are her way to communicate to the viewers of the painting, or some extra details that Da Vinci put in?


    • hiawatha123

      Well This portrait was suposed to have been made for Her husband, but somehow wasn;t given directly to him. I think the look that she gives of sadness could be a message to him about how she feels about something possibly, if that makes sence

  3. morgigglez

    Hey Hiawatha!
    I really enjoyed reading your post on the Mona Lisa, and I think its interesting how you saw her and what emotions you extracted from the painting. Why do you think the artist made the background so unrealistic? Do you think the artist made the contrast from Mona Lisa’s realistic looks and the surreal background on purpose?

  4. sebby123

    Good job watha! Next time i go to the mona lisa i will be sure to look for the interesting details you have stated! Do you think that the artist purposefully painted two different emotions?

  5. abbie95

    Hey Hiawatha!
    I really enjoyed reading your post! I found all of your depictions about what the Mona Lisa represents and her emotions and all the reasons she looks like she does very interesting. It’s interesting how theres a lot more to the painting than what meets the eye. Do you think Da Vinci painted multiple hidden emotions, like those similar to Mona Lisa’s, in his other pieces of art or are they just in this one?
    Abbie 🙂

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