Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, “Mona Lisa” features significantly in Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code. Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu are drawn to a private viewing of the painting by clues left by Sauniere. Langdon reflects on a seminar recently given at Essex County Penitentiary (New Jersey) in which he presented his theory on the painting’s connection to the Egyptian gods, Amon and Lisa (Isis), an anagram of ‘Mona Lisa’.
The painting was started by Da Vinci in 1503 and finished in 1506/1507. Da Vinci took the painting with him to France when working with King Francois I. Francois bought the painting, starting a strong association of the painting with the French people.
The painting was not named ‘Mona Lisa’ until Giorgio Vasari published a biography of Leonardo 31 years after his death. ‘Mona Lisa’ literally translated from Italian (Madonna Lisa) into English means “Lady Lisa”. Lisa apparently was model Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine businessman Francesco del Giocondo. The alternative title, “La Gioconda” is the feminine form of Giocondo.
Symbolist interpretations of the painting first became popular in the mid nineteenth century when art critics began to associate Mona Lisa with eternal femininity.
There are some major problems with Langdon’s theories on Amon and Isis. For one the name “Amon” is an English version of the Egyptian God’s name. Da Vinci was Italian. ‘Isis’ is the Greek version of the Egyptian name for the goddess, Aset.
The Mona Lisa can be viewed in The Louvre, in the Salle des Etats.
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