Leonardo started to work on this painting in 1503 when the Mona Lisa was twenty-four year old. He worked at the portrait for the next four years. When Leonardo left Florence in 1507 he did not sell the painting to the orderer but he kept it for himself. Several believe that Leonardo did not hand over the painting because he did not finish the work, others believe that Leonardo loved the painting too much.

Leonardo da Vinci arrived with the painting in his baggage in France in the year 1516. Leonardo sold the painting in France to King Francis I., who bought it for the castle in Amboise. In the following time Mona Lisa came to Fontainbleau, Paris, Versailles and then to the collection of Ludwig XIV. After the revolution in France the painting got a new home in the Louvre. Napoleon took it away from there and hung it up in his bedroom. When Napoleon was banished Mona Lisa returned into the great Louvre in Paris.




On 21 August 1911 Mona Lisa was stolen from an italian thief, who brought the painting to Italy, where it emerged two years later in Florence. After some exhibitions Mona Lisa returned again to Paris.

An acid attempt damaged the lower half of the painting in 1956. The restoration took several years.

In the 60´s and 70´s Mona Lisa was exposed in New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Today the painting is behind bullet-proof glass in Paris in the Louvre and international terms are prohibiting any journey.

In an era when left-handedness was considered the devil's work and lefties were often forced to use their right hand, Leonardo was an unrepentant southpaw. It has been suggested that this "difference" was an element of his genius, since his detachment allowed him to see beyond the ordinary. He even wrote backwards, and his writings are easily deciphered only with a mirror.
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