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Word Count: 328
The Mystic Smile This article was about the Mona Lisa The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a real flesh-and-blood woman named Lisa Gheradini the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant named Francesco del Giocondo The Mona Lisa was painted in oil on wood between the years of 1503 and 1507 by Leonardo da Vinci one of the three greatest masters of the Italian Renaissance The picture draws an astounding 55 million visitors to the Louvre each year It measures twenty inches high by fourteen inches wide Tourists gather around it and stare at the smile as if in a trans caused by the beauty of da Vincis masterpiece The status of any work of art it turns out is secure only to the extent that it continues to speak directly to later viewers and the Mona Lisa has somehow managed to do this Throughout the twentieth century the portrait continued to fascinate art historians writers poets artists and spectators The Mona Lisa has survived periods of neglect Yet over and over again particular qualities have captivated art lovers who have dreamed of being moved by the painting of a woman who smiles In those times when taste and sensibility have been cultivated and valued the extraordinary beauty of the Mona Lisa has closed the gap that might otherwise have alienated later viewers from it Today when museumgoers are as accustomed to looking at flat lifeless mediated images of art on television and computer screens let alone the experience of the pleasures of beauty has receded into the distance In these changed circumstances it is celebrity and commercialism that keep the Mona Lisa alive The Mona Lisa may be the most popular painting in the world today but it remains to be seen whether it can survive such popularity in other words it has been viewed by generations of art lovers but could eventually lose its place to the next new thing
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