Mona Lisa copy - it was painted by Leonardo's lover??

March 1 2012

Image of Mona Lisa copy - it was painted by Leonardo's lover??

Picture: Prado

The speculation on this is just going to run and run. Here's the latest headline from The Art Newspaper:

"Leonardo’s lover probably painted the Prado’s Mona Lisa"

How do we get to this news-tastic conclusion on the basis of hard-to-interpret infra-red imagery - and no other evidence whatsoever

Here's the reasoning:

In attempting to identify the copyist, curators at the Prado began by eliminating pupils and associates such as Boltraffio, Marco d’Oggiono and Ambrogio de Predis—since they each have their own individual styles. They also eliminated two Spanish followers of Leonardo, Fernando Yáñez and Fernando de Llanos, whose work is distinctively Valencian.

Miguel Falomir, the head of Italian paintings at the Prado, now believes that the copy of the Mona Lisa “can be stylistically located in a Milanese context close to Salaì or possibly Francesco Melzi”. Melzi was an assistant who joined Leonardo’s studio in around 1507, but the Prado’s copy may well have been started earlier. Of the two, Salaì now seems the most likely.

So it's by a process of elimination. Boltraffio, d'Oggiono and da Predis must be ruled out because they are far superior painters than the hand responsible for the Prado's copy. Presumably the same goes for Yáñez and Llanos. Melzi only joins Leonardo after he began the Mona Lisa, so that's him out. And we're left with Salai, for whom, perhaps conveniently, we have very few firmly attributable works for comparison. I'm not sure about this...

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.