Understanding ‘Her’ smile

Sakal Times
Wednesday, 28 June 2017

This painting has travelled across the globe and even a non-artist is aware of it. Of course, what stays with people is her beauty. 
The most common thing for the participants was that whichever way you look at the painting, you feel as if Mona Lisa is looking at you and smiling.

What makes Mona Lisa, the most famous, most discussed and most intriguing art work.

In The Louvre, the world’s largest musuem, her portrait hangs, smiling at the tourists. She appears unperturbed by the flashes of the thousdands of cameras, the sights of recognition, and the jostling of the crowd shifting from foot to foot like a clumsy ballet.

Mona Lisa -- is there any other art work that has attracted and intrigued art enthusiasts and critics as much as she has?  

No. So what makes her iconic? How do artists look at her as an art work and as a female figure? We asked a couple of city artists this question.
Ruve Narang, who recently held a workshop in the city to demystify Mona Lisa, said, “The painting of Mona Lisa is precious for me as an artist. She is mysterious and has become an ideal for female beauty in the art world, because of her charming smile and her eyes.

I think its popularity stems from the fact that we all interpret it differently. To me, the painting is the superior technical achievement than something which invokes an emotional response to it. Her features may look particularly masculine to some, but others may view her as aesthetically pleasing. This work of art conveys so many different emotions ranging from those of romance to indifference to melancholy.

Mona Lisa speaks volumes about the artist Da Vinci and his inventions than the painting itself. It manifests one of the greatest inventions of painting techniques called sfumato, practised even today. 

Gayatri Deshpande
It is a landmark painting in the history of art -- it holds a lot of importance for that period in the history of art. The kind of revolution it brought in is extremely important for us as artists and for people who appreciate art. Artists from that era did not use paints, sometimes they were not allowed to, because they were artists for the kings who were ruling at that time. But this painting was a revolution and that’s why it’s an extremely important landmark in the history of art. 

I like the look in her eyes -- it speaks a lot . As a viewer it may differ from person to person but the kind of mystery the eys have, has really ceated interest in me. Honestly speaking, it is not just about the beauty of the painting but the whole painting itself is beautiful.
Mandar Marathe (painter and sculptor) 

I have not seen Mona Lisa painting at the museum but I would say, more than the painting, I admire the artist behind it as he was not just an artist but was also an engineer, architect and inventor. He proves that it’s a misconception that art is the monopoly of artists.

The workshop was a WAS Studio (World’s a stage) initiative to build an artist community in Pune where Narang spoke at length on the most famous work of Leonardo da Vinci. Thread by thread, she explained the work to art lovers.

Participant speak
As I am very keen to learn about the history of art, this workshop has helped me a lot to think beyond paintings in several ways and to be able to comprehend something I see from the eyes of society. Mona Lisa painting is something which I’ll obviously love to draw and paint as it is the one of the most famous paintings in the world.

Aahana Mehta, student
As it is one of world’s most loved paintings, the more I know about it, the better I will understand it. The most interesting facts about it are that it separates the background from the object and secondly, from whichever angle you look at it, you think she is looking at you and smiling.
Tushar Lashkare, graphic designer

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