Henry F. Pulitzer must be rolling in his grave. The American collector who spent his lifetime attempting to authenticate his painting as an authentic version of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa seems to have received a bit of posthumous vindication. Pulitzer wrote a book Where is the Mona Lisa? in 1966 attempting to prove his case. Met with general skepticism from the academic community, the Isleworth Mona Lisa was assumed to be a much later copy of Leonardo’s masterpiece which has captivated the world and is considered the world’s most famous painting.
In a bombshell release based on new scientific data the Guardian has reported,
New tests on a painting billed as the original version of the Mona Lisa have produced fresh proof that it is the work of Leonardo, a Swiss-based art foundation has said.
The tests on his 15th century portrait were carried out by a specialist in “sacred geometry” and by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in the wake of the Geneva unveiling of the painting, the Isleworth Mona Lisa, last September.
“When we add these new findings to the wealth of scientific and physical studies we already have, I believe anyone will find the evidence of a Leonardo attribution overwhelming,” said David Feldman, vice-president of the foundation…
The Zurich institute carried out a carbon-dating test on the canvas of its painting and found that it was almost certainly manufactured between 1410 and 1455, refuting claims that it was a late 16th century copy.
With the analysis of the paint determining that the paint is actually older than the Mona Lisa in the Louvre long thought to be the original, the Swiss version represents a reverse portrait of Dorian Grey where the sitter has officially become younger.
One interesting aspect of the emergance of the earlier work is a new twist in the life of the mysterious Mona Lisa believed to have been Lisa Gherardini. It was believed that the portrait in the Louvre was commissioned by the wealthy silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. He was the husband of Lisa Gherardini and was believed to have commissioned the work after the birth of their second child. Perhaps the Isleworth Mona Lisa was commissioned by someone else before their marriage or Giocondo’s tribute to his wife was based on an earlier portrait by Leonardo of another woman.
However, this does not seem to be an open and shut case as many skeptics are still not convinced. Stay tuned.