At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, is exhibited for the first time in America. Over 2,000 dignitaries, including President John F. Kennedy, came out that evening to view the famous painting. The next day, the exhibit opened to the public, and during the next three weeks an estimated 500,000 people came to see it. The painting then traveled to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was seen by another million people.
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the great Italian Renaissance painters, completed the Mona Lisa, a portrait of the wife of wealthy Florentine citizen Francesco del Gioconda, in 1504. The painting, also known as La Gioconda, depicts the figure of a woman with an enigmatic facial expression that is both aloof and alluring, seated before a visionary landscape. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Andre Malraux, the French minister of culture, arranged the loan of the painting from the Louvre Museum in Paris to the United States.