Artist Leonard da Vinci
Date ca. 1503-5
Movement High Renaissance
Medium Oil on panel
Dimensions 30.25 x 21″
Housed at Musée du Louvre, Paris
This work is likely the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who was married at the age of 16. While this painting shares similarities with the Portrait of Ginevra de ‘ Benci in that both women are painted out-of-doors and in a three-quarter pose, we can see that da Vinci has employed sfumato to a much greater extent here; Ginevra and her landscape appear crisp and sharp, while the figures here fuse together in a soft haze—this is due in part to the many, many layers of oil that were applied that each helped to bring soft highlights to the surface; further, the landscape here echoes the soft lines and hues of the subject.
For reasons that are unclear, da Vinci kept this painting with him when he travelled; after his death, it was bequeathed into the collection of King Francis I, then was later acquired by the Louvre.