French monarchs hung "her" in their baths and bedrooms. A thief snatched her from the Louvre. Nazi art looters pursued her. Vandals attacked her. Advertisers exploited her. Through five centuries of revolutions, wars, botched restorations and bizarre imitations, Mona Lisa has proven to be more than a mere masterpiece: She's a survivor.
Few art works have experienced more adventures -- and misadventures -- in and out of the frame. The Florentine matron has shed her stately robes and appeared in sunglasses, hair curlers, burka, kimono, sari, a nose ring, Mickey Mouse ears, black boots, a Santa hat, a see-through blouse and nothing at all. She's straddled a motorcycle and a mule, flashed her underwear, skateboarded, skied, smoked a joint and engaged in a kinky array of X-rated activities. Last year NASA even bounced Mona Lisa's image off the moon. Why not? She's been everywhere else.
Leonardo's model -- Mona (Madame) Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo -- could never have anticipated such an extraordinary afterlife for her portrait. The highs have been high indeed. And the lows? See for yourself below: