He started it in 1503 and carried it with him until his death in 1519. It was Da Vinci himself who brought the painting from Italy to France.
Da Vinci did not consider the Mona Lisa to be finished. He worked on it right up to the end of his life. Da Vinci would be surprised that 500 years later the Mona Lisa is by far the most famous painting in the world.
Crowd at the Louvre in Paris catching a peak at the Mona LisaThe Mona Lisa is the only painting in the Louvre that's behind bulletproof glass.
The painting was stolen in 1911 and recovered two years later. In 1956, the painting was damaged when a vandal threw acid on it (in the same year another vandal hit it with a rock). In 1974, a handicapped woman, upset by the Tokyo National Museum's policy for the disabled, sprayed red paint at the Mona Lisa while it was on display there.
The Mona Lisa makes frequent appearances in fine art ...
... in street art ...
... in pop art ...
... in murals in Ohio ... or Tokyo
(this mural in Tokyo is made of small Japanese characters.)
The Mona Lisa is so famous that people can recognize her by her eyes alone
Her fame is widely exploited in advertising
She's used to make political statements
She's a popular costume
Welsh farmers recreate her with sheep and LED lightsThis no doubt would have surprised the artist (if nothing else). There's no end to people's creativity when inspired by a great work of art.