Prado copy hits the news again

March 6 2012

Image of Prado copy hits the news again

Picture: Prado/Louvre

A classic example of how speculation can become fact. From the Daily Telegraph:

'Mona Lisa copy may have been painted by Leonardo's lover'

Last month, a copy of Leonardo's most famous painting rocked the art world with revelations about its provenance.

Two weeks after it went on show to the public at the Prado, the museum's conservation team believe they are closing in on a conclusion about the painting's authorship.

The most likely candidate is Gian Giacomo Caprotti, the apprentice known as "Salaì" - which translates as "Little Devil" - who went to work in Leonardo's workshop when he was ten years old.

Many historians believe, though it is not proven, that Salaì was Leonardo's lover. He is presumed to be the youthful model for Leonardo's paintings 'St. John the Baptist' and 'Bacchus', as well as numerous drawings.

Things we can't know for sure in relation to this story:

  1. Nobody knows if Salai was Leonardo's lover, or even if Leonardo was gay.
  2. We can't really be certain that the Prado copy was painted simultaneously alongside the original.
  3. We don't know much at all about Salai's style or oeuvre, and certainly not enough to make a stylistic attribution. 

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