Mona Lisa – The Story of a Painting


Unless you have been living on another planet for the last 500 years, you must have heard of the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa. Painted by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, the canvas has an estimated net value of 800 million USD and can be admired at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The painting has an interesting story and raised many controversies and conspiracy theories throughout the years. Here is everything you need to know about it, its history, and its contributions to modern art.


What is the Mona Lisa?

The famous work of Italian writer, artist, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa was completed in 1506. It is said to portrait a young woman seated against an imaginary landscape.

The female character envisioned by da Vinci is believed to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of famous merchant Francesco Giocondo, hence the painting’s alias, La Gioconda. The artist used a variety of painting styles and techniques, including the “sfumato” to create the borderless and fluid background.


Famous owners

Throughout its history, the artwork passed through several hands, including the ones of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. He was an avid supporter of fine arts and even had the painting hanging on his bedroom wall.

Bonaparte is said to have fallen in love with the woman from the painting. Because of her resemblance to Gioconda, Napoleon fixated on another Italian woman named Teresa Guadagni, who was, in fact, a descendant of Giocondo’s wife.



Seeing the Mona Lisa with your own eyes can prove disappointing because of the painting’s actual dimensions. You would assume that for a portrait so famous, it would at least come in a decent size, as most other Renaissance works.

Without trying to crush your dreams and expectations, the popular painting only measures 30 by 21 inches and weighs little above 18 pounds. And, since it is the centerpiece of the museum, you won’t have a hard time finding it, since thousands of tourists constantly surround it. Therefore, catching it up close and having some spare time to analyze it is virtually impossible.

The subject of many robberies and recoveries

As you would assume, the story of the painting and its recent history is quite tumultuous. It has fallen into the hands of various “restorers” throughout the years who only managed to damage it.

The portrait was also attacked several times, including by a Bolivian citizen named Ugo Ungaza Villegas, who threw a stone at it in 1956. Only a few months before, another man threw acid at it, managing to damage its lower section superficially.

The famous painting was also the subject of many thefts, the most recent one taking place in 1911. The French people were in shock and even mourned its disappearance. An interesting fact is that Pablo Picasso was considered one of the primary suspects, since he had been caught stealing art from the Louvre before.


The world’s most beautiful art galleries

If you are interested in art, then you definitely cannot wait to enjoy the greatest art galleries in the world. Even if you are not an art fan, there are galleries that will still impress you. Some of them are listed below.

  1. Uffizi Gallery

This is one of the most wonderful art galleries in the whole world. Besides the fact that it is in the heart of Italy, in one of the most artistic Italian cities where the greatest artists were born (Florence), it has the biggest Renaissance painting collection in the world.

From the very first step into the gallery you will have the feeling that you have traveled back in time, due to its historical aura. Be prepared to see the most fascinating works of art of those times. If you are interested in Renaissance art, you will never be able to forget this visit.


  1. Musee d’Orsay

If you happen to be in Paris, you should definitely visit Musee d’Orsay, since it has a unique collection of Impressionist works, that are a historical treasure. You will have the opportunity to see works by artists like Pissarro, Monet, or Degas.


  1. Picasso Museum

This gallery is entirely dedicated to Picasso and all his works. People usually know about this artist that he used to paint abstract works, because they were the most popular. However, Picasso was more than that.

The museum’s architecture is just as incredible as Picasso’s works. If you ever happen to visit Barcelona, this gallery should definitely be on your must-see and must-visit list.


  1. Gagosian Gallery

This fascinating gallery was founded in 1980 and the artists that it represents are Nam June Paik, Anish Kapoor, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha and Damien Hirst. The gallery has also worked with architects as Caruso St John and Richard Meier.

Besides contemporary exhibitions, the Gagosian Gallery also focuses on historical ones, having exhibitions of artists like Picasso or Andy Warhol. The galleries are located in New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Athens, Geneva, San Francisco, and Hong Kong.


  1. Sprueth Magers

This gallery is focused on highlighting the talent of female artists, because its founder, Monika Sprüth was very disappointed by the fact that Cologne, Germany was mainly represented by male artists. Monika succeeded in showing the work of famous female artists, such as Barbara Kruger or Jenny Holzer.

Sprueth Magers has spaces in Berlin, Los Angeles and London.


Of course, there are many other galleries that have their own style, theme and history that have to be seen in a lifetime, because each of them is unique. Art is one of the few things that are able to make humans feel something and express their emotions. We have to take every chance we have to see pieces of art, because they are not just objects – they also hide (and express) the feelings of the artist.


What you should know about progressive rock


I think it is time everybody learned about my favorite genre of music since I believe it is massively underrated for no good reason. Progressive rock, or prog, as it is often shortened, is a subgenre of the more comprehensive rock music. It developed in the UK and the U.S.A. in the late sixties, a perfect time for music exploration.

It relies more on instrumentation, composition style, diversity and on fusion, rather than on being catchy as it is with pop music and Top 100 artists. Moreover, it is influenced by genres such as blues, jazz, folk and even classical music, which should tell you a lot about its vibe and underlying melancholy.

Under the label of prog, artists were allowed to explore new musical realms and to make lyrics more poetic, to put art back into music and enhance the listening experience in a world where bops made for the dancefloor dominated the charts. As it is the case now, unfortunately. It seems some things never change enough for a shift in the status quo.

For more than half of a century, progressive rock has been the breeding ground for rock’s most outlandish ideas and artists, and the birthplace of some of the most loved albums of our time. And it’s still going strong despite the fact that it has become an underground style of music which is often thought of as a stereotype in the mind of the general public, which is mainly focused on pop culture.

The genre’s genesis coincided with the 1960s economic boom, which allowed record labels to offer more creative control and decision-taking freedom to the signed artists. This meant the music artists created wasn’t affected by statistics, beta listeners, and other redundant stuff that only watered down their vision.

Prog reached a high level of popularity during the 1970s, when it sold incredibly well, but faded soon into a certain level of obscurity. The culprit? Well, some loud voices are saying the rise of punk rock is to blame since the seventies were a bit more rebellious. And the critics too had their share of the blame, as they would often criticize the style of being pretentious and hard to digest.

Soon after the 1970s, progressive rock inevitably fragmented and went on to give birth to many forms of music. Although the hype was over, some bands still achieved commercial success even after the heights of the genre passed.

This form of artistic expression is also related to progressive politics, as it is always the case with music. Even though music has lost some of that political influence because artists would rather sell sex than art, progressive rock remains one of those genres which isn’t afraid to call out the people responsible for the major social issues such as poverty and abuse.

Interesting facts about Pablo Picasso


Born Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, he was never pleased with playing just one role in his life. He was Catalan, Spanish, and French altogether, a prodigy and an irresponsible adult in Paris, a passionate lover, husband, and father. But, above everything else, Picasso remains the most brilliant artistic personality of the 20th century, a fruitful painter who changed the life of modern art once and for all.

Almost 80 years of artistic activity reflect Picasso’s multilateral creation and indisputable role in the world of art. Although known as a brilliant painter, Picasso was also a remarkable sculptor, drawer, poet, and potter. Picasso was famous for his contribution to the modern arts as well as for private life.

Here are some of the most important facts you need to know about Pablo Picasso.

He had one of the longest names in the history

Although Spaniards and Latin Americans, in general, are known for using multiple names to baptize their children, Picasso benefitted from the help of various family members so that his full baptized name contains no less than 23 words.

His full name is Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Mártir Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. However, he preferred to take the last name from his mother’s side, Maria Picasso y Lopez.


A child prodigy and an unconventional artist

Picasso expressed his wish for drawing at a very young age and he was tutored by his father, an art professor, and an artist himself. He began taking art classes at only 7 years old and by the time he was 13, he had already surpassed his father in style, vision, and talent.

However, although he was accepted at various prestigious art schools, Picasso always hated the rigidity and conventionalism of classes. Art seemed to become more technical and left little to the imagination and the fantasy of each painter.

So, he decided to seek inspiration in real life scenes and on city streets as opposed to what he was learning in art school. He became extremely interested in certain people categories so he began painting gypsies, prostitutes, and beggars.


Various painting styles determined by his love life

Picasso’s style varies as he enters different stages of his life. He started off as a classic, style that was attributed to the beginning of his life with a quiet family and pleasant working ground.

By 1921, the artist begins to experiment with surrealism, a modern art movement to which he adheres but never fully adopts.

In his personal life, Picasso was often seen as a heartbreaker. He was married twice, had about six mistresses and hundreds of other love affairs throughout his life. He had four children and married for the second time when he was 79 years old.

His tumultuous love allegedly determined one wife, one mistress, one child, and one grandson to commit suicide.


My top 5 blues guitar players


Electric blues is represented by any type of blues music that uses electric amplification for musical instruments. Out of all instruments, the guitar was the first one that was amplified and later used in shows by various pioneers such as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

This happened 80-90 years ago and, ever since, electric blues remained a music genre adopted by various artists. Although there were other amplified instruments over the years such as the harmonica, the piano or the bass guitar, the electric guitar remains, in my opinion, the most powerful instrument that can be used to play an impeccable blues ballad.

If you’d like reading more about blues guitars, I suggest you check the top 5 blues guitar players according to my standards.



  • Eric Clapton

The English star is a blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He used to be part of the Yardbirds and Cream bands and reached the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, both with the bands and as a solo artist.

Clapton is considered one of the best musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries and he cites Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Freddie King as his main musical influences. In 2006 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his astonishing musical career.


  • Jimi Hendrix

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix, he was one of the most prolific and notorious rock music players in history. He was awarded the title of “the greatest guitarist of all times” by the prestigious Rolling Stone magazine, back in 2003.

His new playing style at that time implied the use of an electric guitar and it easily became a recognizable style that influenced generations of future modern guitar players. Because of his hectic lifestyle, Hendrix didn’t leave behind too many recorded albums or tracks and, as a result, most of his songs were pirated from concerts.


  • Robert Johnson

Born Robert Leroy Johnson in 1911, he was one of the pioneers of the blues guitar. Some of his most famous songs are “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Crossroad Blues”, and “Love in Vain”.

These songs remained influential for upcoming musicians so that they were also played by famous rock bands and guitarists, including Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and others.


  • John Mayer

Born in Connecticut, John Clayton Mayer is a famous American guitar player who started his career playing acoustic rock and began a slow transition to blues in 2005. Since then he worked with other famous players such as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Guy, and he even started his own band, John Mayer Trio.


  • Joe Bonamassa

He is considered “the king of modern blues” and he started his career when he was just 12 years old when he opened for B.B. King.

He has released 15 solo albums and is one of the most reputed blues guitarists of the 21st century.