Leonardo da Vinci is one of history's most brilliant minds. He's an artist known for his paintings, drawings of the human body, and as an inventor well ahead of his time. Some of his more famous works of art are "The Last Supper" and "The Vitruvian Man." But perhaps, his most famous and controversial masterpiece is the "Mona Lisa.".
Leornado da Vinci was born in Italy in 1452. Even as a young boy, he showed interest in painting, sculpture, invention, architecture, music, engineering, geology, cartography, mathematics, botany, and writing. Da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa while he was in his early fifties, and as he painted the portrait, he was creating a work that would be heralded as one of the greatest works of art in history. .
Looking carefully at the Mona Lisa, one may notice that it is, at its bare minimum, a portrait of a woman, sitting still as a muse for da Vinci. She is seated on what appears to be a balcony above a very strange and futuristic looking, remarkable mountainous and colorful landscape. The smoothness of the over all piece is quite breathtaking as well. This is a notable example of da Vinci's "sfumato" technique (a form in painting without abrupt outline by the blending of one tone into another - Webster's Dictionary). The Mona Lisa looks both approachable and evasive, like a human being, but with unrealistic qualities. And although each viewer may see the Mona Lisa differently, the most common point of interest is what's most mysterious about the painting - the reason for her smile. .
For many years it remained a mystery of who this woman was. Many controversies have sprung from the possible identifications of who this woman could be. Though it is still unclear, scholars believe, with some uncertainty, that the woman is Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, but there is a strong lack of evidence to support this. Although the woman has traditionally been identified as Lisa del Giocondo, a shortage of evidence has produced other theories, including that the woman could be da Vinci's mother in a younger state and the possibility that he used his own likeness on the face.