Rhetorical Analysis


Painting: Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa is the most recognized painting globally. It isthe portrait of a Florentine Merchant’s wife hence, the gazetargets the husband. The image dates to the 16th era. The painter isLeonardo da Vinci. The picture portrays a female gazing at theviewer. Over the years, numerous religious, artistic and theatricalarguments have been featuring the painting. There are numerousaspects adding to the attractiveness and liking for the painting.

The painter employs a design, which places the female simply andevenly within the space of the painting. This places the viewers at atranquil, undisturbed position. By achieving the effect, Da Vinciappeals to the rhetorical analysis of pathos. As the viewerprogresses to look at the artwork, it is possible to notice thedetail in Mona Lisa’s hands. Lisa’s right hand appears resting onher left arm. The gesture replaces the commonly used hand with awedding ring in other paintings featuring women. By resting her righthand on the left hand, the character is portrayed as a virtuousindividual, in addition to being a faithful woman. This demonstratesthe rhetorical appeal of ethos, in addition to cause and effect,through indication of the female character. The character ispositioned in an outstandingly upright position, whereas the arms arefolded. It is another indication of the reserved posture of thefemale, acting as another illustration of pathos. Just thecharacter’s gaze is set on the viewer and appears to welcome anyperson looking at the picture to engage in silent communication.

By observing the painting, lack of any noticeable facial hair onMona Lisa is apparent. This includes a lack of eyelashes andeyebrows. It was widespread during the Renaissance period for femalesto pluck their eyelashes and eyebrows, because the hair was regardedas unattractive. The lack of hair enhances the lack of emotions inthe character’s face, as well as enhancing the somewhatsemi-abstract quality. The character induces an unclear impact andviewers are drawn to the mysterious female. At the same time, theviewer has to keep their distance, as though the character is aheavenly creature. Mona Lisa has an enigmatic, tight-lipped smile,which has resulted in numerous interpretations, rational explanationsand weird analysis (Gurstein 1). The smile appears innocent, inaddition to being inviting. It is unclear why people have had diverseviews concerning the smile however, what is certain is the painterappeals to ethos. This is achieved via an appeal to the female’scharacter as individuals question the reason for the smile. Thereasons for the smile differ from scientific hypothesis concerninghuman vision to notions on Mona Lisa’s identity, as well asfeelings. This depicts pathos through an appeal to the viewer’semotions.

The background of the painting is made using aerial point of view,due to the smoky blue, as well as no apparently defined fading point.This gives the picture important depth, though the details depict anapparent imbalance amid the high perspective on the right part of theimage. This compares to the low horizons shown through flatlandsstretching from the left side of the painting. The imbalanceincreases the rather surreal environment of the painting. Mona Lisarepresents the painter’s involvement towards oil painting art,which is a sfumato art mastery. The painting method entails asmooth, close to unnoticeable, changeover from one color to adifferent one, through the manner of ultra-subtle tone shades.Apparent all through the artwork is Da Vinci’s employment ofsfumato apparent within via the soft contouring of Mona Lisa’sface, close to the mouth, as well as eyes. It is a method of oilpainting, which the painter had previously depicted successfully informer paintings. The overall impression emerging from the portraitis serene, supplemented via a clear-cut feeling of anonymity.Serenity derives from the mute color pattern, comforting sfumatotone, and the accord created by the character’s pyramid shape pose,in addition to unassuming cloth. Anonymity derives from severalaspects. These are the smile, gaze directed to the viewer’s right,and hands, which seem unreal with lifeless quality (Gurstein 1).

A question that every viewer seeks to know is why or who Mona Lisais. There are various deviations to consider when identifying thefemale character. The name of the painting derives from Lisa delGiocondo, as it was intended to become her imitation. Giocondo wasthe wife of a rich silk, as well as cloth merchant Francesco delGiocondo. There is a high possibility the merchant asked for thepainting to be created resembling the wife in celebration of thefamily’s purchase of a new house at Florentine, Italy. The paintingwas meant for portraying the character as virtuous. This is apparentin her gesture where she appears like a faithful wife. Da Vincidepicts Lisa as stylish, in addition to being triumphant, possiblemore than she may have been in real-life. Her style is apparent inthe dark garments as well as black veil. The clothing is influencedby Spanish’s fashion. The character wears a veil in the paintingbecause during the period of painting her self-potrait, thecharacter’s daughter had passed away. It is aimed at showing MonaLisa’a mourning state.

The painting is outstandingly large. The size is equivalent to thatof commissions purchased by rich art patrons during the Renaissance.This lavishness acts as a symbol of Lisa and Francesco’s socialambition. Prior to passing away, Da Vinci spoke about a picture of aparticular Florentine woman, which had been painted following requestfrom Giuliano de’ Medici. There has been no proof to depict a linkamid Lisa de Giocondo or Giuliano de Medici. Da Vinci could have beenreferring to his other paintings bearing a female character. However,the reference to different paintings brings up the realization thatMona Lisa is precisely a self-portrait. The painting remained with DaVinci, which he carried to everywhere he travelled. This explains thepossibility, Da Vinci expresses his feelings in the painting, whichhas resulted in speculations the picture may have as well been aportrait of Da Vinci’s mother. Since he did not give the paintingto its intended purchaser, it ought to have had an emotionalattachment to the painter.

The Mona Lisa is without a doubt an exceptional picture(Gurstein 1). There are numerous aspects differentiating the paintingfrom such artwork featuring female characters. Lisa’s facialexpression, the enigmatic smile, as well as the painter’s masteryin tone and color enhance the popularity of the painting. There is alot of myth and interpretation regarding the painting. However, whatall art critics agree is, Da Vinci was effective in appealing topathos and ethos.

Work Cited

Gurstein, Rochelle. The Mystic Smile. Mona Lisa, 15 Jul. 2002.