Not just a meme, but a masterpiece – why the Mona Lisa has earned its place in art

Non-stop flocked By tourists at the Louvre Museum in Paris Leonardo da Vinci The Mona Lisa (1503-17) is perhaps the world’s most famous artwork. However, when you consider that the painting is a small and somewhat innocuous portrait of a silk merchant’s wife, it’s easy to wonder – why exactly that? In this episode of his YouTube series, Great art explainedJames Payne, UK curator, gallery owner and essayist, has argued that the famous depiction of a woman with wandering eyes and a light smile is not just an inescapable cultural meme, but a masterpiece as well. To explore the history, mastery and mystery underlying the work, Payne provides a straightforward and comprehensive analysis of why the Mona Lisa is so important five centuries later.

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