Isleworth 'Mona Lisa' an earlier da Vinci work
DavidFeldman vice-president of the Mona Lisa Foundation,
Switzerland, takes issue with Monday's Artbeat column and
argues the Isleworth/earlier Mona Lisa is genuine.
The Isleworth Mona Lisa.
IThe article mentions the Isleworth/earlier Mona
as a possible copy rather than a genuine Leonardo da
Vinci, but did not appear to focus on recent findings.
For this painting to be accepted in the canon of Leonardo's
work, it must be established there were two Mona
Lisas, and that this is the other.
"There is no basis for thinking there was an earlier
portrait," said Julia Morrison (who is referred to in the
article) to the BBC.
Consider the documented historic evidence.
1.Both Francesco del Giocondo in c.1501 and Giuliano de
Medici in c.1515 commissioned portraits of the Mona
2.Raphael when he first copied Mona Lisa in c.1504
included flanking columns in his sketch as did many copies,
but not the Louvre painting. There must have been a version
of Mona Lisa with columns.
3.A 1517 account describes a "finished" Mona Lisa
painting. A 1550 account describes what must be another as
4.Respected art historian, Gian Paolo Lomazzo, described in
his 1584 art treatise that Leonardo painted a "Gioconda, and
a Mona Lisa".
All these facts, especially when taken together, would point
to the existence of two Mona Lisa paintings.
A host of arguments support the attribution of the Isleworth
Mona Lisa to Leonardo. Prof Kemp dismisses it as a
copy. The conception, dimensions, columns, subject,
landscape, sitting angle, embroidery, underpaintings, and
extra detail are quite different, pointing to it being an
What then makes it a Leonardo?
1. The painting is of a younger woman. Art forensics show
this is the same subject as the Louvre version, with about 11
years age difference.
2. The subject is shown between flanking columns, the bases
of which are the finest of any Mona Lisa and which,
unlike those in the Louvre painting, reflect light and
shadow, a Leonardo autograph.
3. Many established experts admire the beauty of the face,
which sets it apart from all copies.
4. The dating of the canvas points to this painting predating
the Louvre version.
5. The larger format of the painting shows more surrounding
detail than the Louvre version especially at the bottom.
Details below the right arm are similar in both paintings and
not visible to the naked eye, and consequently most likely
executed by the same artist.
6. Leonardo was fascinated by knots: the embroidery knotting
is completely unique, more complex than the Louvre version
and any Mona Lisa copies, which are all the same.
7. Leonardo was the only known important left-handed artist
of this period. Left-handed brushstrokes originally noted on
the neck have also recently been identified on the left cheek
and right hand.
8. Leonardo was preoccupied by geometry at that time; the
painting is larger than the Louvre version, yet the figure
portrayed is about 10% smaller. When brought to the same size
their "hidden" proportions are exactly the same.
9. Scientific tests of the brushstrokes by their pixel
concentration, of elliptical characteristics, amplitude
histograms, and of the palette each confirm that important
sections of the Isleworth/earlier version are by the same
artist as the Louvre version.
In the words of distinguished research physicist John Asmus,
"significant portions of the Isleworth painting were executed
by Leonardo da Vinci.
Further, it is my opinion that the entire body of scientific
and historic evidence in support of this conclusion is more
substantial and extensive than for many of the works widely
attributed to da Vinci".