News and discoveries on Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa seem never ending. It has been announced a few days ago that a team of experts are analyzing a new version of it kept in a private collection in St. Petersburg which seems extremely close to a Leonardo’s original.
It may well be another high quality copy, perhaps produced by one of the pupils of Leonardo, Francesco Melzi or Boltraffio or Salai. Silvano Vinceti, a well known expert on Leonardo, claims to be already sure of the fact that it was painted at the time of Leonardo and Carlo Pedretti seems to agree with him. The columns appearing in this version are found also in a original sketch drawn by Leonardo, some art historians thought that the Mona Lisa had no columns because they were sawn off, but tests carried out the Louvre had demonstrated that poplar wood table was never cut.
“There are many indicators pointing to the Tuscan artistic genius,” Vinceti told ANSA. “But of course it’s only a hypothesis.”
The Mona Lisa was sold by Salai to King Francis I of France for the staggering amount of 2.604 gold lire, this could have created a great interest among Leonardo’s pupils to create copies of the same painting.
Now the problem is to establish which is the original and which is the copy. The discovery of two other ladies below the Louvre’s Mona Lisa by Pascal Cotte seems to point to the fact that they have the real one, while the Prado’s Mona Lisa and the St. Petersburg’s Mona Lisa should be high quality copies produced by the ‘bottega’ of Leonardo.
I am presenting a new hypothesis on the origin of the Mona Lisa in the latest version of my book which could fit into this scenario. My new idea is only available on the kindle version: