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Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born in Italy, 1452. Leonardo was an artist, an engineer, a scientist-inventor, an architect, and a musician. The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a lady who was the wife of a Florentine gentleman. The portrait took Leonardo four years to paint. The painting is both unsigned and undated but in the year 2006 it was thought to be 500 years old. The King of France bought the painting for $9000, a very high price for those days, but now the Mona Lisa hangs in its own room in the famous French museum the Louvre.

Questions to Ask

What is the first thing that you see? This is the focal point. The focal point is what first draws your eye, something that stands out.

What is a portrait? Have you ever sat for a portrait in a studio? Hint — think Sears portrait studio

This painting took four years. Why do you think it look so long to paint?

Display the print on the wall. Have the students walk by her looking at her eyes. Ask them what they notice about the eyes. Hint — the eyes seem to follow you about the room no matter where you stand.

What colors are used? What colors are repeated? Do you like the colors? Are they bright of dark?

Mona Lisa is smiling. What do you think she is smiling about? A joke she heard? A secret? It is believe that while she sat for this painting Leonardo had flowers strewn about, animals for her to pet, beautiful music to listen to , and clowns to make her laugh.

What do you think about how her hair was painted? Does it look real, what is the texture like? Leonardo was known for his expertise in painting hair. Hint — her hair looks very natural.

What does Mona Lisa’s hand look like? Ask the students to fold their hands like Mona Lisa. What kind of work does she do? Mention that people who do hard work with their hands often have rough looking skin. Do her hands look rough? Does she work hard?

Activities for the Classroom

Additional Kid Friendly Resources at the AHML are "Katie and the Mona Lisa" by James Mayhew and "Steal back the Mona Lisa!" by Meghan McCarthy. There is a great age-appropriate and entertaining DVD about the life of Da Vinci at the library, part of the "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists" series.

There are many songs written about the Mona Lisa, play a CD of one of these songs during the presentation. If possible talk about the lyrics of the song. Ask the students what they think? Do they think the same things or different?

Ask for a student or the teacher to pose for the student. Ask the students to draw their portrait.

Use the Mona Lisa template and let each student add detail as they would like to see the painting. Use the template without the smile to change her expression.

Focusing on Da Vinci's inventions, show the children some of his many sketches, then let them design their own inventions with pencil on paper.

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