This is a variation of an earlier lesson which I have posted about Mona Lisa.

It is much simpler, aimed at elementary and junior school students with a focus on synonyms – words of the same meaning.

This is the narrative of the lesson.

Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world.

It was painted by Leonardo da Vinci between the years 1503 and 1506.

Leonardo lived in Florence Italy.

The painting is of the wife of a rich silk merchant,

Her name was Madonna Lisa Gioconda.

Of course, we know her better as Mona Lisa for short.

Leonardo never gave the painting to the silk merchant.

In 1516, he went to live in France and took the painting with him.

Just before he died three years later in 1519, he gifted the painting to the King of France for his art collection.

The painting is officially now called ‘La Gioconda’ meaning ‘The Smiling One’.

That is because the woman who appears in the painting has an enigmatic smile and there are many mysteries about who she is.

Nevertheless, the ‘Mona Lisa’ painting is a true masterpiece and hangs today in the Louvre Art Gallery in Paris.

The painting was stolen in 1911 and it took two years to find it and get it back to the Louvre.

Without doubt, ‘Mona Lisa’ is a famous woman.


  1. What is the Mona Lisa?
  2. Who painted the Mona Lisa?
  3. Who was the Mona Lisa painted by?
  4. Who was the Mona Lisa painted for?
  5. Who was the painting painted of?
  6. Where does Leonardo da Vinci come from?
  7. Why did Leonardo da Vinci never give the painting to the silk merchant?
  8. Why did Leonardo da Vinci take the painting with him to France?
  9. Why did Leonardo da Vinci go to France?
  10. To whom does the painting belong?
  11. Has the painting ever been forged?
  12. How do we know if the ‘Mona Lisa’ at the Louvre is the real thing?

The following words has same meaning to words or phrases in the narrative.

Try to match them up without using a dictionary.

  1. For sure
  2. Museum
  3. Merchant
  4. On the planet
  5. Portrait
  6. Fascinating
  7. Well known
  8. Period
  9. Gave



Leonardo da Vinci left many thousands of pages of notes about the things he had invented and designed during his lifetime.

There is, however, no written evidence whatsoever of any kind which confirms a merchant commissioned a painting of his wife which we know as the ‘Mona Lisa’.

Leonardo da Vinci may have painted the ‘Mona Lisa’ more than once which explains why there is a duplicate of the ‘Mona Lisa’ in a security vault in Switzerland.

There is no evidence that the woman in the painting is of Lisa Gioconda, wife of Francsco Giaconde, a well to do Florentine silk merchant.

The possibility still exists that it is a painting of Lisa Gioconda as much it might be a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci himself, his own Mother or of some other yet unknown person.

Leonardo da Vinci probably continued working on the painting throughout his life and never considered the painting as finished.

The painting was the property of Leonardo da Vinci until he died when he gifted it to the King of France and therefore to the French crown.

In the circumstances, Italy can have no legal claim of ownership to the painting.

The theft of the painting in 1911 certainly was a major event in creating worldwide interest in it but not necessarily because it was an artistic masterpiece, more so because of the manner in which it was stolen by an Italian handyman who worked at the Louvre Art Gallery.

The painting short to greater prominence in more recent times with the publication of a book entitled ‘The Da Vinci Code’ written by Dan Brown which was later turned into a film.



The purpose of the lesson is to practice writing, reading and speaking English, not to provide a detailed history lesson about Mona Lisa or Leonardo da Vinci.

Please read the narrative, write out the narrative from memory and then practice speaking it from memory.

Make the effort to learn the vocabulary and focus in particular on synonyms.





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