Ken’s Korner: An earlier version of the Mona Lisa?
News & Views from the World of Antiques & Collectibles
By Ken Hall
Did Leonardo Da Vinci paint an earlier version of his masterpiece the Mona Lisa a dozen or so years before the famous painting that hangs in the Louvre? That’s what the Mona Lisa Foundation is out to prove, using regression tests, mathematical comparisons and historical and archival records in a 35-year comparative analysis to another, similar work, known as the “Isleworth Mona Lisa” (so named because it turned up in the home of an English nobleman in the late 1800s). The Foundation is headquartered in Zurich.
But hold on, says Martin Kemp, an Oxford University professor and Leonardo expert. He says the primary evidence offers “no basis for thinking there was an ‘earlier portrait’ of Lisa del Gioncondo” (referring to the subject in the Mona Lisa), and that “the infrared reflectography and X-ray points strongly to its not being a Leonardo.” The “Isleworth Mona Lisa” is larger than its renowned counterpart, and was painted on canvas (vs. wood for the Mona Lisa). The face and clothing are similar, but the landscape background is different.