Another “Mona Lisa”?
An item at Art Media Agency says recent carbon-14 analysis of the so-called Earlier Version Mona Lisa – allegedly created at least a decade before the version in the Louvre and currently with the Mona Lisa Foundation in Zurich – dates the painting to the early-to-mid 15th century. A Foundation press release quotes Dr. Markus Frey, President of The Mona Lisa Foundation, as saying: “The results of these further tests are very convincing. They confirm our conclusion that this painting is indeed Leonardo’s ‘Earlier Version’ of his Mona Lisa.”
Alfonso Rubino, a specialist in the geometry of Leonardo, has recently presented his latest findings which show that Leonardo worked the geometry found in his design of the Vitruvian Man (1487) into his paintings. According to Rubino, the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’ portrait embodies the intermediate stage of Leonardo’s geometric constructions, and therefore must be by Leonardo.
The carbon 14 dating findings are considered significant because an earlier test suggested the work could be a 17th century copy:
[T]he latest carbon 14 dating test (performed by ETH – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) dates the canvas to be between 1410 and 1455 (95,4% probability) or between 1425 and 1450 (68,2% probability). Thus it is highly unlikely that the canvas was executed beyond the turn of the 16th century.
Hold it! Earlier Version?
This painting was discovered in 1913 by Hugh Blaker, an “art connoisseur and curator of the Holbourne Art Museum in Bath, England.” Blaker had the painting at his studio in Isleworth, London (and it has subsequently been referred to as the “Isleworth Mona Lisa”). No surprise, for the past four decades has been under intense scrutiny. The Foundation has already published a book documenting previous testing, scholarly opinions and “historical evidence”, which is summarized in a factsheet, and an exhibition is forthcoming. The Foundation’s homepage also features a 21-minute video about the painting.