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Art and Images in Psychiatry
June 2013

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

Author Affiliations


JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(6):555-556. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.371

In this head [of Mona Lisa ], whoever wished to see how closely art could imitate nature, was able to comprehend it with ease; . . . the eyes had that luster and watery sheen which are always seen in life. . . . In the pit of the throat, if one gazed upon it intently, could be seen the beating of the pulse. –Giorgio Vasari, 15681(p238)

[Mona Lisa ’s] is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh . . . of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions. . . . She is older than the rocks among she sits; . . . she has been dead many times, . . . and as Leda, was the mother of Helen of Troy, and as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary . . . —Walter Pater, 18702(p79,80)

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