Analysis of Elements and Principles of Art Used in 'Mona Lisa'

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About this sample


Words: 995 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 12, 2023

Words: 995|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 12, 2023

A masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, The Mona Lisa, showcases blend of elements and principles of art, used to contribute to its timeless allure.The Mona Lisa painting is a Renaissance art era portrait painted with oil on a poplar wood panel. It was painted in a style called sfumato which is an Italian word for smoke. The Mona Lisa was painted by the famous artistic name Leonardo da Vinci. It is referred to as La Giocondo because it was believed that she was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The Mona Lisa was painted in Florence, Italy in the year (1503 - 1519). The Mona Lisa may be considered one of the most famous paintings in the world. The Mona Lisa is displayed in Paris, France in the Louver Museum. The Mona Lisa belongs to the public and “the painting cannot be purchase or sold according to the French heritage law” ('Mona Lisa”). The painting is relatively small. The painting’s originally size is 77 x 53 cm (30 x 20 ⅞ in).

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The Mona Lisa is one of the best art pieces in the world. It is one of the paintings that has been searched for by people around the world, at all costs. It was always recognized as a good piece of art but it wasn’t until 1911 that it gained fame worldwide. The painting was stolen from the Louver museum in France in 1911. It was missing for over two years. During the time that it was stolen, the painting gained most of its popularity. Some estimate that the painting is now worth around 850 million dollars, although it can not be bought or sold (“How Much is”). But what makes this piece of art such a masterpiece? This paper will analyze and evaluate aspects of this famous painting.

Elements and Principles of This Masterpiece

This paper covers two basic design principles and design elements. The design elements chosen are value and space. The two design principles chosen are balance and emphasis. The definition of value is the amount of darkness or lightness used in the painting. The Mona Lisa can be described by a tram called chiaroscuro, which mostly has darker colors, however, the background and face use lighter colors. It is interesting to notice that most of the dark colors are towards the bottom of the painting and the lighter colors, besides her hair, are towards the top of the painting. The use of darker colors also makes the face of the Mona Lisa seem to glow and stand out compared to the rest of the painting. Aerial perspective is also used because the foreground sticks out a lot more than the background. This perspective is demonstrated by making the background a little blurry so it appears much further than the woman.

This painting is symmetrically balanced. The weight of the woman is equal on both sides of the painting. She is in the middle of the painting, and also “there’s balance created as we are seeing equal amounts of the face on either side of the nose” (Boddy-Evans). It is also noticeable that there is a balance created as the space between her head and shoulders are equal. It is easy to notice that Leonardo Da Vinci wants all of the viewer's focus to be directly on the woman and does not include any other features in the painting to distract the viewer's attention. The woman is almost perfectly aligned to the middle of the painting. Even her hands are close to the middle. All of these features make the painting symmetrically balanced and the primary focus is on all aspects of the woman.

The Mona Lisa has been regarded as a great work of art. Leonardo Da Vinci was able to create a masterpiece. It is considered to be one of the most expansive works of art in the world. There are two main reasons that this painting is so successful. The first is that it was painted by a famous and great artist. Most of Leonardo da Vinci’s works are famous. The second reason that this painting is so famous is that it was stolen from the Louver Museum. The painting gained worldwide recognition during the period of 27 months that it was missing. Aside from the quality of the painting, other factors such as the time period and the colors used also don’t make it the most famous painting in the world. During the Renaissance period, a lot of pictures were painted with darker colors. However, some critics have a different opinion stating that the “Mona Lisa revolutionized contemporary portrait painting”. Even so, the painting does have some artistic qualities to it. It is a good example of the four design elements and principles that were mentioned above. The painting's main focal point and emphasis are on the woman, especially her face. The space in the painting can also be used to back up the main theme of the painting. It shows the woman’s body and everything around her. He painted it well enough that it doesn’t distract from the main focus of the painting.

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The use of the symmetrical balance also makes the women the center of attention. If Da Vinci had chosen another way to make the woman the center of attention, it would have distracted the viewer from the other parts of the painting; and the use of value makes the painting stand out compared to others. Although it was a popular style during the Renaissance, by today's standards the use of darker colors makes the painting one of a kind. All in all, The Mona Lisa is an average painting that has gained worldwide recognition. It is painted well, however, if it wasn’t for the artist and for the recognition it gained while stolen, it probably would not be as famous as it is. The Mona Lisa has a strong history behind it and the curiosity of knowing who this woman actually made it a good piece of art.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Analysis of Elements and Principles of Art Used in ‘Mona Lisa’. (2023, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“Analysis of Elements and Principles of Art Used in ‘Mona Lisa’.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2023,
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Analysis of Elements and Principles of Art Used in ‘Mona Lisa’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:
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