Florence sometime between 1503 or 1506, though it might be later than that no one is really sure, Lisa del Giocondo(possibly) of the Gherardini family is waiting patiently for the master artist Leonardo di Vinci to paint her. Neither are happy about this.
“Look, can you not just smile nicely this time?”. Leonardo states peevishly, “I’ve got a lot on you know…”
“Well!” hrumps an indignant Lisa and crosses her arms and nestles further into her chair.
“You’ve a nice smile”, says Leonardo in and attempt to play nice. He’s starting to recognise trouble when he sees it and he’d really like to be out of here by 5 for the taverns.
“I know”, answers Lisa fully in the knowledge that this is case. “Francesco, my husband, wants you to get my good side”.
“If you don’t smile Madonna I shall have to capture your smile enigmatically”
“Enigwhat?” asks the model rather bemused by the maestros turn of words.
“It means perplexing dear lady, or mysterious, did you want your eyebrows on this by the way”
“No, there not my best feature best leave them out. How are you getting on?”
“Oh fine” Said Leonardo desperately wishing he wasn’t spending time filling in the outside with a fantasy landscape. ‘They’ll not buy that’s Florence in a million years” he thought, “but it will annoy art historians with any luck’
“I know what you really want to do” piped up Lisa. “Really? Do tell Madonna” replied a resigned Leonardo. She began, “You don’t want to paint me, you want to go back to designing those wooden war wagons and silly flying machines. I saw that crazy whirligig thing you were sketching it’ll never fly you know!”
Why, thought Leonardo, I could have chosen Isabella of Aragorn, Cecilia Gallerani, Costanza Avalos the Duchess of Francavilla, I could have just painted myself and made me look a bit like a girl that would have been quicker than this. I’ll never finish it at this rate. His mind started to wander as it always did. He foresaw his master work endless parodied and copied by others “why’s she smoking a pipe in that one?” he thought. It might be that Leonardo would have been distraught to find that the Mona Lisa has ended up in the Louvre instead of an Italian gallery. It would be interesting to see what he would make of the scrum around the picture. The picture is not large, and the zealous guards do not give you much time to stare at the original for long before moving you along. Probably because they’re concerned that a visitor is going to hide in a wardrobe and walk out with it under their coat at closing time. It’s certainly possible when it was estimated by a previous head of the Louvre that 80% of visitors only went to the gallery to see it.
“How’s it going?” says a new voice, snapping Leonardo out of his dream. It is the husband Francesco. “Try and get her to smile a bit, will you? I’m not wanting her looking all miserable”.
Now if poor Mona Lisa hadn’t had to sit for such a long time for the portrait she may have had a bigger smile. If companies like Giclee Printing Services had been around the whole process would have been much quicker and an infinite amount of prints would have been available.