Women in Art ~ Day 6 ~ The Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa

I have to include ”The Mona Lisa” in my Women in Art theme this week of course.  The Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or La Joconde)  has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.” -John Lichfield, cited in Wikepedia.


A few of interesting facts about Da Vinci and The Mona Lisa:

Leonardo da Vinci invented scissors.

It took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa’s lips.

Did you ever notice that the woman in this most of paintings has no eyebrows? It’s true. Look closely. Women at that time were considered more beautiful if they had their eyebrows shaved.

The Mona Lisa wasn’t the only portrait of women he painted, but the one we immediately associate him with.


Lady with Ermine
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Created: 1489–1490
Locations: Czartoryski Museum, Wawel Castle

Women in Art ~ Day 3 ~ Botticelli

I couldn’t do a ”women in art” theme without featuring some of the wonderful paintings by Botticelli from the Renaissance period which can be traced back to Italy as far back as the late 13th century.

Sandro Botticelli (c1445-1510)  was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance. Among his best known works were ‘The Birth of Venus” and ”Primavera”.

It is said that Botticelli never married and suffered unrequited love for Simonetta Vespucci, a married noblewoman. According to popular belief, she had served as the model for ‘The Birth of Venus’ and recurs throughout his paintings, despite the fact that she had died years earlier, in 1476. Botticelli’s wish to be buried at her   in the Church of Ognissanti in Florence was carried out in 1510.


The Birth Of Venus (1485-86), by Sandro Botticelli, currently in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

I love that the naked women portrayed in Bottecelli’s time were curvy and voluptuous.  The artists and their patrons liked their women naked in the paintings  and with a bit of meat on their bones. I like to think that the skinny models of this period would have been told to go home and eat a few slap up meals!


From naked voluptuousness to fully clothed and modest  ”Annunciation” was commissioned in 1489 by the church of the Florentine convent of Cestello which is now known as Santa Maria Maddalena de’Pazzi.


The Annunciation, also known as the Cestello Annunciation, Botticelli, circa 1489-1490, housed Uffizi Gallery of Florence.

Underneath the painting on its original frame are words in Latin from St. Luke’s Gospel 1:35 “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” (Wikipedia).


”Primavera” also known as ”Allegory of Spring” is described in Culture & Values (2009) as one the most popular paintings in Western art. It is also, according to Botticelli, Primavera (1998), “one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world. While most critics agree that the painting, depicting a group of mythological figures in a garden, is allegorical for the lush growth of Spring, other meanings have also been explored. (Wikepedia)


The Primavera, also known as the Allegory of Spring, Botticelli  (circa 1482) housed Uffizi Gallery of Florence.

This is my favorite and I can appreciate why various meanings have been explored.  I myself wonder at the male on the left being tempted by the fruit and not the beautiful women by his side and then what is happening on the right? I will leave you to your own interpretations.  I would be interested to hear them.

I hope you have enjoyed my ‘women in art’ today.