Gioconda Mystery
Art

La Gioconda: mystery, regret, and controversy

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Last Updated on March 15, 2021 by Gaia Zol

La Gioconda, aka the Mona Lisa, is a painting filled with mystery, regret, and controversy. What does she hide?

Gioconda Mystery

One of the greatest paintings of Italian art is certainly La Gioconda. Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece is an icon, both of modern culture and past history. It’s a masterpiece for the Louvre museum, where the Monna Lisa lives. While the painting is unsigned, no one doubts Leonardo painted it. But the Gioconda mystery is far from over.

For example, the Italian artist never considered the work completed. And he never gave it to his commissioner. This has often raised questions which, together with many others, haven’t found any answer, yet.

La Gioconda, Monna Lisa
La Gioconda, Monna Lisa

Gioconda mystery: more questions than answers

It’s her gaze, that mysterious gaze. And her identity, still unknown.

The painting and its elements have several different interpretations. The protagonist is an enigmatic woman with an even more enigmatic smile. Italian researches and scholars have suggested that she was a real women. Supposedly, her name was Lisa Gherardini, the second wife of the Florentine silk trader Francesco Del Giocondo. Apparently, Leonardo knew the family.

However, this is only one theory. In fact, another theory is that the figure is Leonardo himself. This is due to the physical resemblances (especially in the facial features) and because of the uncompleted work.

La Gioconda, in spite of its popularity, is a work of mystery: the smile, the eyes, and the subject. Everything has contributed to create an aura of enigma.

Will Italy ever get it back?

So, where should the Gioconda be: France or Italy?

Both countries claim La Gioconda. The Italian side believes it should be home, since Leonardo was Italian. However, the French counterparts claim the painting wasn’t stolen. Perhaps Leonardo sold it to French citizens, they say.

One thing is for sure: Italians still hold a grudge. So much so that an Italian who worked at the Louvre, Vincenzo Peruggia, tried stealing it. More recently, the Uffizi Gallery of Florence tried to exhibit the Monna Lisa. But the Louvre refused to let the painting go with the excuse of its delicate state. In fact, the masterpiece is protected by a special glass and by a constant temperature. Nevertheless, this choice by the Louvre has been seen as a form of revenge.

The resting place of this painting will always be controversial. Both Italians and French want it for its beauty, power, and fame. It’s the Gioconda by Leonardo da Vinci, after all.

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