Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Controversy swirls around purported 'younger' version of Mona Lisa

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 27th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A painting which is believed to be a younger vision of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" will be presented in Geneva this week. Some art historians believe it is the original version of indisputably the world's most famous painting. Some Leonardo scholars remain skeptical, and have devoted book-length treatises saying it is the work of another artist.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As the story is told, the one currently recognized as the official Leonardo "Mona Lisa," known as "La Giaconda" or "La Joconde" is a reported portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of early 16th century Italian nobleman Francesco del Giacondo who commissioned a portrait of her. Leonardo never delivered the painting to del Giacondo.

The younger version of the painting shows a woman appearing to be in her early 20s, rather than the early 30s of the Louvre painting in the same pose and with much the same enigmatic smile as the acknowledged masterpiece.
 
The Swiss-based Mona Lisa Foundation organizing the event says that the painting is an earlier portrayal by the Italian genius of "the lady with the mystic smile.

"We have investigated this painting from every relevant angle and the accumulated information all points to it being an earlier version of the Giaconda in the Louvre," foundation member and art historian Stanley Feldman, told Reuters.

Both Feldman and his brother David have used the most up-to-date critical comparison and scientific examination techniques to support their view that it is, indeed the work of the Master.

A luxuriously illustrated book entitled, "Mona Lisa-Leonardo's Earlier Version," "will permit an unbiased judgment of the claim of this painting to be the earlier portrait, incomplete, of a young Mona Lisa, much younger than that of the Louvre."

Other experts on the "Renaissance Man, who bestrode the European cultural world from the late 15th century until his death at the age of 67 in 1519, remains skeptical.

Oxford University professor Martin Kemp argued that the Geneva portrait is probably a copy of the Paris version by an unknown painter who simply chose to make the subject younger.

"So much is wrong," Kemp says. The world-recognized authority on Leonardo, points to the fact that the foundation's portrait is painted on canvas and not on wood, the artist's preferred medium.

The "younger version" of the painting is by no means new to the art world. Apart from a brief excursion to Japan, it has been in a Swiss vault for many years.

Discovered in 1913 by collector Hugh Blaker in a manor house in the west of England, the painting had hung for a century unnoticed. How it got there is unknown.

Blaker took it to his home in a London suburb, where it was dubbed "the Isleworth Mona Lisa." On his death in 1936, it was bought by American collector Henry Pulitzer, who deposited it in a Swiss bank while writing a book about it, published in 1972.

.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)