Mona Lisa – an Inspiration for the Modern Woman

What is it about the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci that draws approximately six million viewers to the Louvre every year?

I have a print of her here at home, and I asked her. I looked into her eyes and waited for an answer. This is what came to me:

“I am powerful in my stillness, grace and beauty. I am complete. My presence transcends time. I am every woman.”

For centuries scholars have been intrigued with her Renaissance identity. But does the truth of her fascination lie with the quality and power of the painting itself? Many people comment on how her eyes travel with them as they walk past her painting in the Louvre, or even when gazing at a print at home or in a book.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 21.55.01
Mona Lisa at the Louvre

Mona Lisa – Her mystery

Mona Lisa’s beauty lies in her mystery. She is not beautiful by modern standards, but rather plain, unadorned, and certainly not an example of a classic beauty. She is not trying to be demure, or sexy, but in fact is quite the opposite. Her hands are large and a bit pudgy. There is no revealing cleavage, and yet she is just so composed, so sure of herself with her enigmatic smile that seems to say “I know you, I can see into your soul. We are eternal. When you look at me you cannot pretend to be anything other than who you truly are.”

Leonardo da Vinci has used a technique called chiaroscuro – the rendition of light and shade – to portray the particular shape of her features and the quality of her skin. We can feel the dedication of the artist as he works the paint so delicately over her face and hands.

This woman knows she is loved!

And she shines love back.

Leonardo da Vinci has painted her large in front of a distant landscape. There are winding paths behind her on both sides, one is smooth and leading to flowing water and the other path is rough and overgrown. Could the paths be symbols of the paths we can choose to tread in life?

Every moment offers us a choice – to be love or not to be love.

When I am not being love it feels horrible in my body, comparing myself to another, worrying about someone else, criticising. When instead in those moments I choose acceptance or appreciation, my body feels expansive and harmonious.

The painting in the Louvre is small, and yet she has a huge presence amongst all of the paintings in the gallery and wherever she is displayed in print form. I get a feeling of the love and respect that Leonardo felt for women as he painted this portrait. It is a painting for women, to empower them. Equally it is a painting for men, to feel their tenderness, and for both men and women to honour the sacredness and preciousness of women when they are absolute and complete.

Mona Lisa – Her inspiration

Throughout the centuries Mona Lisa has remained a constant. She has been continuously emanating a quality of energy to inspire us now as modern women to be that grace and presence ourselves – our own Renaissance. She puts out a challenge: a choice to be that, or not. Spending time contemplating this portrait has brought me to a place of understanding about the power of the painting and the truth expressed in it for all women.

Every time I look at it I am confirmed as a woman.

I now realise how every movement, every word I speak, builds a quality of me as a woman. I am then able to bring my qualities – delicateness, fragility, tenderness – to others in my daily life. I now have a deeper appreciation of the beauty, grace and power in women claiming their true qualities.

Leonardo da Vinci is confirming the innate knowingness, wisdom, stillness and equality that all women can bring to the world. And that is what six million viewers receive as they walk past Mona Lisa at the Louvre. What a gift to humanity!

by Bernadette Curtin, Byron Bay, Australia

You may also enjoy:
The Yearning and Impulse to Express our Beauty by Gina Dunlop
What Defines a True Woman – Returning to Be-YOU-ty by Kate Burns
Women Speak 101

Image credit:  © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Michel Urtado

1,163 thoughts on “Mona Lisa – an Inspiration for the Modern Woman

  1. I love the symbolism of the pathways behind Mona-Lisa and how they can be symbolic of the choices we have in life to make and hence the corresponding path we would travel or may find ourselves on.

  2. The confidence and ‘assuredness’ of a woman have little to do with her outer beauty but is an emanation from within, and this is something for each of us to practice and live in deepening layers.

  3. Thank you Bernadette for your sharing about the Mona Lisa – there is much said here for me to reflect on and areas I had not considered in symbolism!

  4. I went to the Louvre a few years ago and when I got to the Mona Lisa it was quite a surreal experience, instead of the normal standing and appreciating a painting at a gallery people were frantically taking pictures of it on their phones .. it was literally like being at a rock concert!!! What was ironic was the stillness that is felt from the painting was the complete opposite from the crowd of people that came to view her, even pushing each other out of the way to get a photo. As most things in life, when we have our phones it takes away the feeling and appreciation of being in the moment wherever we are. I love this question you raise ‘Could the paths be symbols of the paths we can choose to tread in life?’ I must admit I hadn’t noticed the paths much in the painting before but yes absolutely they could be a symbol of the path we tread in life or more so the choices we make.

  5. Mona Lisa reflects to us something that is in all of us and that is a great knowing and understanding of the divine.

  6. Inspiring read, thank you Bernadette, a beautiful reminder of the qualities we all hold as women and the care we can take to express those and not lose ourselves throughout the day. It is definitely a powerful painting, offering a return to the stillness and depths of beauty we all have within.

    1. Spot on Melinda, and this quality holds all women as equal and sacred, and hence not one ounce of comparison can come from the way this woman has been painted.

  7. Having heard so much about the Mona Lisa, I was disappointed to see how small it was the first time I saw it. But looking at it for a while, it emanates a presence of deep stillness and a quality long forgotten, buried in ourselves in today’s society.

  8. What a great picture, seriously when we feel the quality in this picture we are reminded that we are all other worldly.

  9. “This woman knows she is loved!” And she knows she is love and an inspiration for all to be all the love that they are.

    1. It just goes to show when we know we are loved and of course deeply love ourselves the ripple affect it has on others is clearly felt ✨

  10. Reading this I can really feel the qualities in the Mona Lisa you write of, and of those qualities in me. And this is what she is saying too – we are all equally beautiful; outside measures of this are irrelevant, beauty is what you connect to within and emanate.

  11. I was in a newsagents the other day and there was a magazine about history and on the front page was a picture of the Mona Lisa, what was really cute was that a child around 6 years old pointed at it and said look Daddy there is Mona. It was said with such affection, the child as do many felt the unimposing sacread quality.

  12. How old is this picture? There is something very eternal about this picture, The Mona Lisa is a reminder of the fact space is vast and goes on for ever whilst time is man made and temporary.

  13. “There are winding paths behind her on both sides, one is smooth and leading to flowing water and the other path is rough and overgrown. Could the paths be symbols of the paths we can choose to tread in life”? This is quite possible as I find there are only 2 paths- one with the soul and one with the spirit. I must admit I never notice the paths as I always look into Mona Lisa’s eyes. I find I feel settled and empowered seeing a woman like her.

    1. I feel the same Fiona, the Mona Lisa is a true mirror reflecting the sacredness we all are.

  14. Always the best most powerful photos/ pictures of women are of those who know they are deeply loved and are not afraid to shine that out.

  15. Mona Lisa is a painting you can’t look at and not feel something from it, as you say reminding us that we are much more that what we have settled ourselves to be. The confirming, appreciation and sacredness she eminates is something I absolutely adore to look at and have as a continual reminder.

  16. I love your understanding of the Mona Lisa Bernadette, you capture her essence and her absolutely stillness and sacredness that is in every woman. The painting offers women to feel what it is like to be in the presence of a woman who knows who she and does not need to prove her worth in any way.

  17. The picture is timeless and reminds us of the fact that there is so so much more to life that what currently meets the eye.

  18. It makes so much sense that the vibration of the painter will be affecting the picture, in Leonardo’s case the man was clearly a genius connected to the universe with a gift of bringing through pure heaven.

  19. Beholding and appreciating the absolute surety and confidence of another is an incredible reflection and healing that we all benefit from: we see it in another and we know that we are that, too.

  20. Beautiful this explanation why Mona Lisa attracts so many visitors and is so admired worldwide by women AND men. The magic revealed. Leonardo de Vinci captured the magic, the essence that is present in this woman beautifully. To be seen by all, and to serve as an inspiration for all.

  21. What is inspiring is the timeless quality: that the Mona Lisa reflects a steady stillness and depth of beauty to all women is as relevant to women back when it was painted, as it is now.

  22. The painting of Mona Lisa is small, yet what it emanates is huge and powerful, ‘The painting in the Louvre is small, and yet she has a huge presence amongst all of the paintings in the gallery and wherever she is displayed in print form. I get a feeling of the love and respect that Leonardo felt for women as he painted this portrait. It is a painting for women, to empower them.’

    1. Lorraine your comment reminded me that as single bodies we too are small, yet our presence can have an enormous impact when we surrender to our soul, and to the sacredness and love we are.

  23. Indeed Bernadette I can really appreciate Mona Lisa’s completeness and absoluteness – the settlement in her body gives you permission to simply be yourself – no more no less.

  24. The true essence of a woman that is what is clearly felt when looking at the Mona Lisa. We have a Mona Lisa at home as well and as I was reading your blog looked up at her and felt a stillness within my body. The irony is when I went to see her at The Louvre the crowd around her was anything but .. it was like being at a rock concert!!! Crazy that currently in this day and age instead of being able to stand and appreciate something we are looking at it through a mobile phone trying to take a picture of it franticly. ‘This woman knows she is loved!’ I would go further to say this woman knows she IS love and emanates this humbly yet powerfully so.

    1. She feels so rock solid, so content in herself, and so knowing. She knows everything she needs is within her and she is part of something much grander than human life, to me she feels untouched by the world, yet fully in it. She is quite the study.

  25. The painting of Mona Lisa is a beautiful reflection for everyone of an inner quality we all hold within us and the powerful presence that stillness naturally brings when we reconnect to our essence and express with our whole being.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.