What is Formal Analysis of Art?

Mona Lisa (between 1503 and 1505)
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
  • The Mona Lisa is a portrait. She is sitting upright and sideways in a chair with her hands crossed, her face and chest turned slightly towards us (viewers).
  • The background landscape looks a bit blurry, imbalanced in terms of the horizon: on the ride side, it is rocky, compared to the flatlands stretching away on the left. It gives a feeling like the atmosphere of the picture is surreal.
  • I can see why this portrait is very famous, it has a mystery. There is no such action, but Mona’s eyes and her mysterious smile indicate internal or psychological action. If I stand either left or right side in front of the picture-her eyes look at me, and her smile can show that she is happy, at the same time I can notice her sadness.
  • The colors show how cold and warm a portrait is. The dark colors of Mona’s dress and hair contrasted with the lighter background landscape. Her face and hands give contrast to her dark clothing and hair. We can notice lines on Mona Lisa’s skin and background but they are different on her dress, the lines are repeated on the sleeves of her dress. Looking at her portrait, I was impressed by how smoothly the portrait was painted, the colors blend together without definite edges.
  • It seems like Mona Lisa is sitting proudly, clothed in a luxurious fabric, even the background gives a sense as she could own it. The most interesting part of the portrait is that every person can interpret Mona Lisa in his/her own way. Who knows, maybe it is actually a portrait of da Vinci himself in feminine form.
Museum of Science (Boston, MA)




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Kamilia Duisheeva

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making my soul grow through: art, books, music, nature, photography, and psychology

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