How Long did the Mona Lisa take to paint?

Hi Everyone, this is the final part of our Mona Lisa question week. So how long did the Mona Lisa take to paint?  This is an interesting question because nobody really knows.

It has been established that the Mona Lisa was started in 1503. Vasari, Da Vinci’s biographer and Renaissance commentator said the Mona Lisa after 4 years of work was still not finished.

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Fine art reproduction painting of the Mona Lisa by Fabulous Masterpieces

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Leonardo undertook to paint for Francesco del Giocondo a portrait of Mona Lisa his wife, but having spent four years upon it, left it unfinished. This work now belongs to King Francis of France, and whoever wishes to see how art can imitate nature may learn from this head “.


The Louvre says 1503 – 1519 so 16 years. We know he started the Mona Lisa in 1503 and Da Vinci died in 1519. We know Da Vinci took it with him to France where he may have continued intermittently working on it up up until his death, hence why the Louvre says 1503 – 1519.

Some people say 12 years, some say 4 years, some say 7 years. Some people say it took 12 years for Da Vinci to just paint the lips of the Mona Lisa.

However whatever you choose to believe, the fact is no one knows with absolute certainty. Da Vinci was also known to start and stop and start again and leave works unfinished and do multiple things in the same time period so it is hard to say.

You might also be interested in the article: Why does the Mona Lisa not have any eyebrows?


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