A path is visible in the background, just behind the parapet that closes the loggia. It winds its way through an area of brown earth that Leonardo painted without really structuring the sequence of planes. The path draws the viewer’s gaze toward the mountain range in the distance of the painting.
A bridge continues the line of Mona Lisa’s left shoulder. Placed above the area of brown earth, it testifies to a human presence in an apparently natural landscape. The arches of the bridge span a winding river which, like the meandering path on the left, draws the viewer’s gaze into the depths of the painting, toward the mountains bordered by water.
The buildings that nestle in the foothills of the mountain range are discreetly present in the painting; through a masterful effect of atmospheric perspective, Leonardo gradually blurred their outlines and blended their colors into the blue of the air around them. The painting’s many thick layers of oxidized varnish have made these buildings indistinguishable today.
The mountain range
A range of mountains bordered by lakes forms the backdrop to the Mona Lisa. Although some details have been obscured by several layers of oxidized varnish, the treatment of this landscape represents the culmination of Leonardo’s scientific and artistic research.
Several elements, such as the buildings and lakes, blend into this mountain range through a masterly effect of atmospheric perspective.