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Label: da vinci

Wednesday 14th January 2015An Earlier Mona Lisa?

Whenever you start putting extremely high price tags on certain items, no matter what they are - ideas, types of metal, or old paintings - you're probably going to start seeing people creating fakes and forgeries. Impossible patents for processes that could never work, gold tainted with baser metals, or even... a brand new Mona Lisa?

A rather startling claim has been circulating for the last several years, one that might completely change the perspective of the world - at least, assuming it isn't exposed as a forgery. The claim is that before Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, one of his masterworks which hangs in the Louvre in Paris, he had already made at least one earlier painting of the same woman in the exact same pose - in effect, an earlier version of the iconic painting. The subject appears to be younger, and to some observers, more attractive, but it is doubtless intended to be the same woman.

Originally discovered in 1913 in a British manor house, the contested painting has been championed by the Mona Lisa Foundation, a non-profit which has given it full support on behalf of the owners of the painting itself. Nothing is known about what stake the foundation may or may not have in the sale of the painting, but they are aggressively promoting its veracity - albeit with little success in the art world, despite three solid years of campaigning on its behalf.

As strange as it may seem to those of us with a more cynical perspective on the human attitude towards value, there is some popular support of the veracity of the painting, although the experts remain extremely skeptical, to put it mildly. "I do not know of any major Leonardo scholar who has definitely accepted it," Martin Kemp, an Oxford art history professor said of the piece.

Its supporters, on the other hand, point the finger at orthodox narratives and doctrines, and the weight of reputations that stand to be ruined if the contested painting is accepted as genuine. David Feldman, vice-president of the Mona Lisa Foundation, said, "There is no easy way to get recognition and acceptance from the art world, particularly when connoisseurship in the traditional way is being challenged."

Posted on January 14th 2015 on 04:23pm
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