The year 2019 marks the quincentennial of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, and museums around the world are commemorating the occasion by displaying some of the artworks by the polymath. The Musée du Louvre is also displaying a few of the master’s works in an exhibit, set to commence this fall in Paris. In addition to the artworks in its collection, the most-visited museum in the French capital will display some of the works loaned from other institutions in the retrospective. Meanwhile, you can enjoy these paintings when on a Louvre Guided tour.
The painting of Lisa del Giocondo is inarguably the most frequented work of art. Often, there is peering crowds on Louvre Museum tours to catch a glimpse of the painting. It was created by Leonardo when the Renaissance movement was at the peak. There are many mysteries surrounding it. There is yet to have a confirmation about when the Italian polymath completed the masterful work of art. All we have is a period estimate, somewhere in between 1503 to 1506, but many art historians still remain doubtful of that.
Earlier, there used to be a doubt in people’s minds as to whether Mona Lisa was sad or happy. Such was the mystery surrounding her smile until research confirmed that it was a sign of happiness. Of course, Mona Lisa is one of the most studied works of art. Researchers recently said the “Mona Lisa Effect” is a misnomer. It is an optical illusion that a portrait person’s eyes follow the viewer. It is inaccurate because viewers do not get that effect when looking at the painting itself, as she is gazing too far to their right. All this only goes to show how much it has been studied.
St. John the Baptist
The painting was restored by the museum a few years ago. It was completed by Leonardo in 1517 and is lauded as one of his greatest artworks. It awed both historians and audiences thanks to the ‘sfumato’ technique. Da Vinci became one of the greatest exponents of this technique, having used it in John the Baptist portraits too.
The Italian word ‘sfumato’ roughly translates to smoke. The technique gave the saint a murky quality and sumptuous softness, while his look is an expression of knowledge. It was Pope Leo X, who presumably commissioned the work, believed to be the last one by Leonardo da Vinci.