For 500 years Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has been one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. Since her creation in 1503, she has become the ultimate Pop icon, so it is unsurprising that in 1963—while on a wildly successful tour of the United States—Mona Lisa caught the attention of Andy Warhol, the ultimate chronicler of popular culture. Inspired as much by the ubiquitous nature of the image as its historical importance, Warhol produced a series of seven canvases using Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting as his source. One of the largest works in this group, Colored Mona Lisa, is also regarded as one of the most striking and significant paintings of the artist’s early career.
By assembling this progression of multicolored images of the Mona Lisa, Warhol not only commented on the ubiquitous nature of one of the most reproduced painting images in modern society, but also on the means of production, too. Within the surface of this large-scale canvas we can see evidence of the artist’s exceptional ability to capture the zeitgeist of a particular moment in time and provide an early example of his prescient ability to identify the emergence of a nascent age in which high art and consumer culture would become inextricably linked.