Leonardo da Vinci undertook the task of painting the Mona Lisa, an oil painting on canvas, as a commission from Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy Florentine silk merchant. The painting was to be a portrait of Giocondo's wife, Lisa del Giocondo, which the couple intended to hang in their new home to celebrate the birth of their new son, Andrea.
Leonardo began his painting in 1503 and continued his work for three years. He then kept the painting in his possession for several years and did not complete it until 1519. He took the painting with him from Italy to France when he moved at the invitation of Francois I. Da Vinci eventually sold the painting to Francois I for 4,000 ecus. It is not known why the painting was not given to Francesco del Giocondo, the man who originally commissioned the work, or to his wife, Lisa del Giocondo, who sat for the portrait.
The Mona Lisa transferred hands several times and has had many homes, including the Palace of Versailles, and Napoleon's bedroom in the Tuileries Palace. Today, the Mona Lisa has found a permanent home in the Musée de Louvre in Paris, France.