Mona Lisa Historical Portrait Interview
Mona Lisa Historical Portrait Interview
Leonardo’s Mona Lisa Portrait Interview
Leonardo da Vinci is considered one of the most influential artists in the world. In a portrait named Mona Lisa, Leonardo exposed his artistic skill through a picture of a woman seated while its background shows the natural landscape. To get more information on the artist, the portrait and its whereabouts currently, a historical portrait interview is conducted with an art teacher. She has experience with the history of art and various paintings, therefore has a lot of information on historical art. A procedure is followed. The process involves informing the participant of the interview date and time, data required from them and the portrait in question. A consent form is also vital to tell the interviewee of their rights, requirements and use of the data they will provide in the interview. The interviewee is the informant; hence, their rights and wishes should be protected and respected.
I selected an art teacher for this interview due to the quantity of information on artwork and his background and experience in teaching art. After identifying an informational participant, I contacted him to inform on the request for an interview. The teacher was willing and happy to participate in the academic project. After the communication, I told the participant of the requirements for the meeting. I provided a copy of the agreement to participate. It is also essential to inform him bout his rights and benefits after participation. Due to these requirements, I prepared a consent form for the interviewee to sign. It tells him about his powers and contents of the interview.
The goal of conducting the interview is to understand the Mona Lisa painting background, the information it passes to the audience and its impact on individuals and artists. Having done background research on the painting, it gives a guide on the questions to ask and the time limit used that portrays a sense of respect to the interviewee. It also helps to follow up on unclear answers given by the interviewee and be able to ask for clarification before the interview ends. It is also recommended to listen carefully to the interviewee. This practice entails not just sticking to the scripted questions but listening carefully to get more information on the subject. Also, it is essential to respect the participant’s decision to withdraw or not to answer some scripted questions. It ensures the interviewer feels regarded and encourages them to continue with the interview. A well-conducted discussion empowers the participants and allows for change and improved conditions in future interviews (Young et al., 2018). A thank you note or email at the end of the meeting is appropriate.
I agree to participate in an interview on Mona Lisa portrait for an academic research project. I have received sufficient information on the data required from me about Mona Lisa painting. I have understood my role and purpose in this interview, as explained by the interviewer.
I have voluntarily agreed to participate and have not received threats from any individual. I am not coerced to engage in the interview. My participation involves a conversation with a student interviewer on my experience or understanding of historical portraits. The meeting will take a span of 30 to 60 minutes, and I agree with it.
I have allowed the interviewer to record the interview, either audio or video, and take pictures to have evidence of the conversation as required by the project. Also, the interviewer will take notes of the dialogue we have during that period. I also agree to provide any pictures or materials in my possession that may help in providing more information on the subject of the interview. I understand that if I am not comfortable to be recorded or taped, I can withdraw from the participation.
My participation also includes some rights. It is clear to me that I am allowed to hold some information if I feel uncomfortable to answer any questions. I am free to issue or even withdraw from the interview; by which the interviewer will delete the recorded data. Am aware that the items to be asked will be on the Mona Lisa portrait and no other subjects from the artwork.
I am also aware that my name may be used in public concerning the information I provide in this interview. However, my identity will only ibe revealed when I consent to it. If not, I am guaranteed the security of my confidentiality. I agree with my identity being used purposely for the project and no other external motives that may arise after the interview. The reports and documents used in the meeting will be securely stored during and after the project has been completed, and no disclosure will occur to any other parties.
The interviewer has informed me that there are no risks involved in participating in the interview. The information I will give is according to my knowledge and should not bring different issues that may risk my independence in future. Am also not guaranteed of any benefits before, during or after the conversation. The information will benefit the art students taking part in the research and support future inquiries on Mona Lisa portrait.
I have carefully read the consent and am aware that the interview is of a school project on art. I understand my requirements and aware of the information I am supposed to provide. I have understood my rights, and I know that I am free to withdraw any time I feel uncomfortable to continue with more questions. I have received satisfying answers to all my questions, and I voluntarily accept to participate in this interview.
I can contact the interviewer in case I have any questions through:
I have obtained a copy of this consent form, also signed by the interviewer.
Signature________________________________ Signature _____________________________
Date____________________________________ Date _________________________________
Preparation for time and location
Filling the consent form assures the interviewee of interviewer’s participation in the interview. After signing, a date is set for the actual interview. The time should be convenient for both parties. They should all be available for the period of the interview; for a maximum of one hour. Convenient location for the interview is then identified. Since the participant is a teacher at the institution, the interview will occur at his office in the art department. He is comfortable with the location since during the time set, he will be in the school premises hence prefers this location.
Preparation for interview questions
The interview aimed at getting information on historical information on Mona Lisa portrait. Being an art teacher, the participant is knowledgeable on the types and kinds of art, the background on the painter and reasons for painting. Background information gives a lead to the questions to ask (Kelley, 2003). The questions were strategised to extract the history of Mona Lisa from way back when during its creation to its current whereabouts. Painting is an art; hence, the participant’s view and suggestions may improve future artist works to have a positive influence on the viewers or targeted audience. Mona Lisa is a famous painting; hence, the teacher has had to talk about it to his students in art teachings to understand the reasons for its popularity.
The portrait Interview
Please introduce yourself to us
I am Daniel Rodgers, an art teacher in the universities. Am 58 years of age and have been teaching art for more than 35 years now.
What drove you to art?
Art is a field by which one can communicate to a broad audience, not by word but using visual aspects. Drawing and painting have been my passion since I was young, and at the same time, I loved the beauty of nature and wished to speak to people about it. I then realised I could do both by painting, and through it, communicate to my viewers. Since then, I have been researching and reading a lot of articles and books on art to get more insights to improve.
Which historical portrait do you love most?
I adore Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo. It does not seem drawn but depicts a This is because of the impression it gives. It is not only a drawn picture but also a real woman. Mona Lisa painting is Leonardo’s living work.
Have you seen the painting?
Yes. I have seen the painting several times. Every time I am in the Louvre museum, I cannot help but stare at it.
How can you describe the Mona Lisa Painting?
It is a portrait of a woman with long black hair, seated on a high levelled seat, with arms crossed. She stares at the viewer, showing a slight smile, which has given the attractive look of the portrait over time. The smile is also a reflection of the artist’s intention of the portrait. In its background, there is a touch of nature; a beautiful landscape with mountain, valleys, hills, a river and a bridge.
What draws you to the image of MonaLisa?
The centred effect is most attractive. MonaLisa is in the Centrepoint of the painting, and her placement is just stunning. Her facial elements, such as the smile and great eyes, also tend to invite viewers into her world. It is easy to get lost in her world while looking at the portrait.
Why do you think the portrait displays Mona Lisa half-length and does not show the full body?
MonaLisa is a small painting. I think if Leonardo had painted the full image on the same plank, Mona Lisa would be too tiny to be seen at a distance. Also, Leonardo objective of displaying the landscape in its background would be futile because it would appear distant and not depicting the natural resources as he wanted.
What materials were used to create the painting?
The portrait is a unique one. First, the painting is not on a canvas, but a piece of wood. One cannot quickly notice this fact. Secondly, Leonardo used oil in bringing out the theme rather than the usual paints used by many other artists.
Based on what you saw in the artwork, when was the painting created?
Well, looking at the portrait, you may think that it has only lasted for about ten years. It looks new and still stunning irrespective of the time it has been in existence, which is more than 500 years.
From the portrait, are you able to tell the age of Mona Lisa?
Looking at the portrait closely, you will conclude that the lady is young. Her body is smooth, and have no trace of wrinkles. According to me, she might be in her 30’s.
How would you describe Leonardo from his MonaLisa painting?
Leonardo is very creative. I am an art teacher, and I know that creating a portrait that displays all those details requires a lot of skills and passion from the artist. He is also dedicated. It took him so long to make the portrait, but he never gave up until his death. I would also describe him as visionary. He uses a wood plank but still manages to display an outstanding image just like in a canvas.
What inspired the making of Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci?
Mona Lisa portrait is about La Gioconda, Leonardo’s wife. The identity of the woman had stayed unknown for some time until 2005, where a written comment in the manuscript as seen identifying the woman as La Gioconda. Leonardo’s wife inspired the Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo.
How long did it take Leonardo Da Vinci to finish the Mona Lisa painting?
Leonardo took four years to paint the portrait, although he did not complete it entirely. He used an additional three years to finish it up, adding the background and refurbishing, to how it looks now. The total time was around seven years. However, some people believe that the painting was not completed. This belief is because of MonaLisa’s seems to have no eyebrows. The reason behind the eyebrows is either Leonardo wished to express something through it, or he truly did not get the opportunity to finish it up before his death.
Where was the painting stored after its completion?
Leonardo spent the last years of his life in French King Francis 1 palace. After his death, the painting became part of the royal collection until the French revolution when it was declared a people’s property and had to be placed in a public place for people to view. At the beginning of the 19th century, the portrait was moved out of the palace to an open area.
What makes the portrait unique and among the famous paintings from what you saw?
It was drawn on a wood plank and not on a canvas, not because canvas was not available then, but Leonardo wished to use a wet plaster. This factor makes it more unique and outstanding from other portraits of the time. Also, the gaze seems to follow you across the room hence looks active rather than just a picture. Besides its qualities, the portrait became more famous when it was stolen in 1911. The issue was publicized, and it was found two years later. Returning the portrait brought joy to the world.
Apart from stealing the painting, has it had any other scandals?
The painting has survived a lot of vandalism throughout the years. There is a time someone threw acid at the art, creating a slight fade on the picture. Also, someone threw a stone at it. The portrait was damaged though slightly and not easily noticeable at a distance. There are reports of more attempts to steal it between 1970 and 2010.
Where is the painting at the moment?
Mona Lisa painting hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris. It is protected behind bulletproof glass to ensure such acts do not destroy it as throwing acid and stones. It is a small painting, but people from all parts of the world visit the museum to see the famous Mona Lisa painting.
Has the portrait ever been taken out of France?
Yes. Mona Lisa was taken to the United States in 1963 at the Metropolitan Museum of artwork in New York City and National Gallery of Art in Washington DC for six weeks. It attracted over 40000 people each day. It has also been to Tokyo in Japan and Moscow in Russia.
How did Leonardo’s Mona Lisa inspire other artists?
Leonardo was among the first artists to use their paintings to pass a message and not only portray an outward appearance of a picture. There was another replica of the portrait discovered after Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, a brighter background of nature and colour identification. The original Mona Lisa was covered with varnish and became darker with time, unlike the replica which had a more polished look, mysterious smile and attractive eyes. From then, artists started using painting and art to display their thoughts and at the same time communicate to the audience.
What was the influence of Mona Lisa on other artworks and individuals?
First, the portrait encouraged artists to think broad and develop quality and informative work by adopting Mona Lisa’s format in their work. It also influenced the way artists dressed the subjects in their portraits. Leonardo’s Mona Lisa was dressed in loose clothing, covering the body but leaving a part of the neck. In some way, he showed how female should wear, rather than the tight dress that exposes their bodies.
How has Mona Lisa painting impacted you as an individual?
A painting should pass a message. When I look at the portrait, I see the woman having a faint smile. To some people, a smile is a sign of happiness, but the smile was not genuine if one looks at it carefully. It shows some pain or sadness within the person. It also shows how women used to dress during that time, and one can learn from it. I love it because it speaks to the viewer.
Inspired by the Mona Lisa painting, what advice would you give artists?
Leonardo took seven years to complete the Mona Lisa, and it is now one of the most famous and loved portraits. There is a lesson from this; It does not matter how long you take to complete a painting. What matters is the quality of the picture you make. What effect will have on people? Make something unique and outstanding, which will create an impression when seen, and people will love it. The impact your painting will have on viewers determines the period in which it would stay in peoples mind and be valued.
Since the participant signed the consent form, he allowed me to record the conversation and use his identity in my reports. Equipped with the details of MonaLisa portrait, the teacher showed the importance of the picture to the world. The reasons why it is very famous and the impact it has had on him as an individual and on other artists having their painting.
After receiving a lot of information from the interviewer, an appreciation email was sent to him to thank and also inform that I will be getting in touch with him in the future (Plakhotnik, 2017). I will also be giving him updates on how the project is progressing and request for more input in case I need his help. This email is to acknowledge their effort in making the project possible and successful.
Mona Lisa portrait displays a young woman, sited with arm crossed and wearing a faint smile. To get more information on the picture, I interviewed an art teacher, to get more details of the portrait. The participant knew about the data required from him before the interview. He was made aware of his rights as an informant and participant in this interview. He signed a consent form that he agrees to the interview requirements and does not guarantee any benefits. Also, he allows the usage of his identity in reporting only during the completion of the project and not externally. The signing of the consent form led to the interview proceeding. I set a date and venue for the interview. As both parties were comfortable with the time and location, the meeting took place, while the participant was satisfied with all the questions given.
KELLEY, K. (2003). Good practice in the conduct and reporting of survey research. International Journal For Quality In Health Care, 15(3), 261-266. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzg031
Plakhotnik, M. (2017). Using the informational interview to get an insight into the profession of a manager. The International Journal Of Management Education, 15(2), 1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijme.2017.02.002
Young, J., Rose, D., Mumby, H., Benitez-Capistros, F., Derrick, C., & Finch, T. et al. (2018). A methodological guide to using and reporting on interviews in conservation science research. Methods In Ecology And Evolution, 9(1), 10-19. doi: 10.1111/2041-210x.12828