What's so special about the Mona Lisa
The Renaissance era that Leonardo da Vinci lived in was a time of arts patronage, and artists usually only painted epic works at the request of a wealthy patron basically someone who requested a certain type of painting and then paid for it
Patrons valued these artists and usually gave generous commissions, but this meant that the artist had little freedom in what they were creating. Most works from this period were classical in nature and the patrons themselves were only painted if they were added into the scene
And then there is Mona. She is painted without a stitch of jewelry (unheard of for women of the era) — not even a wedding ring — and her look is contemporary, not drawing from any classical references. Women, at the time, were painted to look demure and would never be directly gazing at the viewer. Mona not only stares you down but does so with a smile on her face. It is almost like she is challenging those who dare to look at her
To make it all even more mysterious, the real identity of the woman is not known. There is speculation that she was Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant, but there is no direct evidence of this. Many have guessed that the women and the artist were involved in some sort of love affair, but for all we know, the woman in this painting was his housemaid. Something about her or the painting must have moved him, however, because once it was finished he kept it with him for the rest of his life
The history behind it makes the Mona Lisa so special. In a time when the majority of art created was for someone else to appreciate, Leonardo da Vinci created something that was only for himself.