The theft of the Mona Lisa is what launched it to fame
It’s not just its artistry that made the painting successful, researchers say
The Mona Lisa is arguably the most successful painting in the world.
Millions of people visit the artwork at the Louvre in Paris each year, but it wasn't always that way.
Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa in the early 1500s. It was a popular painting, which even had its own mailbox to receive people's love letters; but this attention skyrocketed after the infamous event.
On Aug. 21, 1911, the painting was stolen.
The missing Mona Lisa garnered international attention, making front-page news. People visited the Louvre just to see the space where the painting once sat.
"Once it became famous, it just kept getting more and more famous," said Duncan Watts, a computational social scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, in The Science of Success.
The painting was missing for more than two years. And once the painting was recovered, the visitors kept coming.
In normal times, about 30,000 people visit the Mona Lisa each day.
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