Why is the Mona Lisa so important?

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world: besides being priceless, it has its own bullet-proof glass and climate-controlled room in the Louvre Museum that cost more than $7 million to build.

This oil painting was created by the world-famous Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci somewhere around 1503 to 1506, although some experts estimate that he continued to work on the painting until 1517. The subject of the painting, Lisa Gherardini, was the then-24 year old wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a successful Italian merchant.

But what's the secret behind the Mona Lisa?

One of the most striking features is that Lisa's eyebrows and eyelashes are missing. Some believe that they were accidentally removed during a restoration, while others believe that, due to Leonardo da Vinci's perfectionism, he never completed the painting: the Mona Lisa never had eyebrows to begin with. A third theory states that it was popular at the time for women to pluck their eyebrows.

Da Vinci began the painting in Florence, Italy, and took it with him when he moved to France. Experts believe that he continued refining the painting until 1517, when his right hand was paralyzed. This may indicate why he left the Mona Lisa unfinished.

Even in its unfinished glory, the Mona Lisa still retains an aura of importance and popularity to this day.

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