The Mona Lisa is believed to have been painted by Leonardo in 1502. He was working on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the third wife of a wealthy silk merchant. She would have been over twenty-four years old at the time and not particularly beautiful. Yet, da Vinci saw qualities in her that would make her the most insured woman in history. Although Leonardo could not have possibly seen Mona Lisa in person, he painted her anyway.
Leonardo da Vinci used a new brushstroke. He started by painting one layer and had to wait for the first to dry before working on the second. Inexperienced, he created a painting that lacked the light, clarity and detail that later became known as the Mona Lisa.
The background landscape is painted using an aerial perspective. The blues are muted, making the face appear less prominent and adding to the composition's depth. The rocky horizon to the right is slightly offset by the flatlands to the left, adding to the surreal feel of the picture. However, Mona Lisa does not have eyebrows, which might indicate that colour pigments for facial features were removed during the painting process.
Today, the painting hangs in a bulletproof climate-controlled enclosure. It has attracted much attention as one of the most famous paintings in history.