Entries in Mona Lisa (4)


Second Mona Lisa Unveiled for First Time in 40 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s a mystery straight out of the Da Vinci Code. A famous portrait, hidden away in a Swiss bank vault for 40 years, with the potential to break open a mystery more than 500 years old. A second, earlier version of the Mona Lisa was unveiled to the public Thursday, a version that experts say they can prove is the work of the master himself.

Known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa, the painting was discovered shortly before World War I by English art collector Hugh Blaker, who purchased it from the noble family to which it had previously belonged. Blaker then moved the painting to his studio in Isleworth, England, giving it its iconic name.

During WWI, the painting was moved to America for safekeeping. The portrait eventually made its way back to Europe, where it was analyzed in Italy before being sent to the Swiss bank vault for safekeeping. Since that time, experts from the non-profit Mona Lisa Foundation have been working to prove or disprove the portrait’s authenticity.

Apart from several similarities, the two Mona Lisas have many notable differences -- the Isleworth version is larger and features columns on either side of the figure, believed to be Lisa del Giocondo. The version that hangs in Paris’ Louvre Museum is narrower and features no such columns.

The Isleworth painting was done on canvas, while the Louvre painting, which features a far more detailed background, was done on wood. The woman in the Isleworth version also appears younger than she does in the Louvre, leading to the theory that the portrait might have been painted earlier, consequently featuring a younger del Giocondo.

The foundation’s claims aside, many in the art and scientific community remain unconvinced.

“It’s a perfectly honest, well-made early copy,” Martin Kemp, an Oxford University professor and da Vinci expert, told ABC News Thursday. “Pictures were copied [because] you couldn’t go to the Internet and order a reproduction. So if you wanted something like that ['the Mona Lisa'] and you couldn’t get a hold of a Leonardo, you would order a copy.”

With the debate still raging, it is difficult to reach a definite conclusion about the painting’s authenticity. So, until the foundation releases more evidence, it looks as though experts will be left to speculate about whether the Isleworth Mona Lisa is the work of the Renaissance man himself, or one very gifted Impressionist.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Is There Another Mona Lisa?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Mona Lisa is one of, if not the most famous piece of art in the world.  Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece has inspired numerous forgeries and impersonators but none of them can compare to the original, which hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

None of them, that is, except for the true original Mona Lisa that was painted by da Vinci roughly 10 years earlier.  That’s right, the Mona Lisa might have an older sister.

Known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa, the painting was discovered shortly before World War I by English art collector Hugh Blaker, who purchased it from the noble family to which it had previously belonged.  Blaker then moved the painting to his studio in Isleworth, England, giving it its iconic name.

The Islesworth Mona Lisa is slightly larger than the one that hangs in the Louvre and is framed by two columns.  It has also been noted that Lisa del Giocondo, the woman who posed for the portraits, appears younger in the Isleworth version, lending credence to the theory that it was painted earlier.

Although compelling, such evidence is far from proof that Isleworth Mona Lisa is anything more than a convincing forgery.  The painting’s authenticity has been subject to furious debate among art historians and collectors, until now.

The Mona Lisa Foundation, which was set up to conduct research into the work, has announced that it has  “historical, comparative and scientific evidence” that will prove once and for all that the painting is an authentic de Vinci.

Professor Carlo Pedretti of the Armand Hammer Center for Leonardo Studies at the University of California in Los Angeles and professor Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Vinci, Italy, have lent their support to the claim.  But until the foundation unveils its new evidence, the painting will remain as mysterious as the source of Mona Lisa’s smile.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mona Lisa’s Bones Beneath Italian Church?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FLORENCE, Italy) -- The bones of Mona Lisa, the woman who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s famous masterpiece in the 1500s, may be located beneath an altar in an Italian church, according to researchers.

Archaeologists in Florence have discovered skulls and human bones in the former convent of St. Ursula. The bones are about 200 years older than the woman believed to be Mona Lisa, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Now, lead researcher Silvano Vinceti tells ABC News that the scientists are hopeful the Mona Lisa’s remains may be found beneath a recently-discovered altar in the church.

Da Vinci’s famous painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of merchant Francesco del Giocondo, who posed for da Vinci in the mid-1500s. Gherardini joined the St. Ursula convent after Giocondo died and was buried there after her 1542 death, according to ANSA.

The bones will be tested at the University of Bologna for DNA matches to the bones of Mona Lisa’s two sons, Vinceti told ABC News.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mona Lisa Mystery: Experts Say Painting Contains Tiny Numbers, Letters

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Lovers of the famous Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece Mona Lisa have been wondering about the secret behind those sly eyes for hundreds of years, but few, if any, ever thought they could contain an actual code. But that's the latest theory put forth by experts who claimed they have uncovered tiny letters and numbers hidden in the nameless model's pupils.

"To the naked eye, the symbols are not visible but with a magnifying glass, they can clearly be seen," Silvano Vinceti of Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage, told Britain's Guardian newspaper.

In the left eye is a tiny L and V which Vinceti said could simply be a secret initial signature by Leonardo da Vinci. It's the right eye, however, that leave experts and conspiracy theorists scratching their heads.

"It is very difficult to make them out clearly, but they appear to be the letters CE, or it could be the letter B," Vinceti said. Vinceti also said the number 72, or possibly and L and the number 2, are also visible in arch of the bridge that is seen in the background of the painting.

Among the theories as to what the message could be in the symbols, Vinceti said it's possible they could reveal the painting's model, one of the art world's greatest mysteries.

Vinceti is among a team of historians determined to discover the truth about the Mona Lisa, even if it means exhuming da Vinci's body. One popular theory holds that the model for the painting is actually da Vinci himself. Skull measurements could help experts determine exactly how similar the model and da Vinci may have looked.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio