She may be the most recognizable face in the world. She was painted by Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci in around 1503-1506. It is rather small: 30 inches tall by 21 inches wide. It is painted in oil paint on a wood panel.
The Mona Lisa was painted during a period of time in Europe called the Renaissance. The Renaissance represented a "rebirth" of Greek and Roman ideals and creative explosion where artists became superstars: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli--all were household names.
Mona Lisa was a real person, and the painting represents the ideal of Renaissance womanhood. It shows the realism of capturing the human form.
But it is her smile that has captured the imagination of people all over the world. It is a slight--ever so slight---smile. But that smile has held a fascination for people over the last 500 years.