In Praise of Leonardo da Vinci and his ‘Mona Lisa’: Pater’s Famous Description of La Gioconda


Walter Pater (1839-94) is now remembered primarily as Oscar Wilde’s tutor at Oxford, and for one or two famous paragraphs in his most important book The Renaissance. Here is Pater’s oft-quoted description of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, in which art criticism took off into the realms of poetry. Some might regard this as a “purple passage”, but the Victorians were uniformly enthused by it and considered it one of the most evocative examples of English prose. Read More