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Post Setting of Mona Lisa Revealed?
Created by John Eipper on 05/11/22 6:12 AM

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Setting of Mona Lisa Revealed? (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary, 05/11/22 6:12 am)

La Gioconda is one of the most famous and enigmatic paintings in the world. It was acquired by King Francis I of France at the beginning of the 16th century, and since then it has been owned by the French state. It is exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Paris, being, without a doubt, the jewel of its collections.

There is no doubt that the fame that portraiture already had in the 16th century is not by chance. The quality of the work lay, in Vasari's words, in its verismo, in its proximity to reality, and in its mimicry. Vasari himself, published in his Lives, in 1550: "Anyone who wanted to see to what extent art can imitate nature, could understand it in her head (of the Gioconda), because in it all the details had been represented. that can be subtly painted. The eyes had that shine and luster that can be seen in the real ones..." With that vividness of the figure, the technique used by the master has a lot to do with it, based on sfumato which, reducing the weight of the drawing, blurs the contours, melts the shadows and generates an appearance of poorly defined objects, the result of the air that exists between the observer and the observed. Likewise, Da Vinci's portrait transcends the physical appearance of the model to delve into her psychology.

There are many mysteries that this portrait contains, and multiple theories about the character who stars in it. Now, a recent discovery carried out by a team of Italian scientists could shed more light on one of their questions: the real location of the landscape that appears in the background of the Gioconda.

After years of research, the theory of the historian Carla Gori has been confirmed. Gori identified the background landscape as belonging to a the town of Bobbio, in Piacenza, northern Italy, seen from the Malaspina-Dal Verme Castle (built in the 14th century). In this context, the medievalist gives a new identity to the woman painted by Leonardo, based on scientific approaches. In this way, the studies carried out on ichnofossils (fossil traces of ancient living beings) have shown that the same stone forms were studied in detail, and later reproduced by Da Vinci in the Codex of Leicester. In addition to the Ponte Gobbo, the Trebbia river, and its great bend, coincide with the stream depicted to the right of the Mona Lisa. The same goes for the mountains in the background, similar to the relief of the Tidone valley and the Pietra Parcellara mountain.

This recent discovery published by RIPS, a geology publication with a worldwide circulation, gives this recent discovery absolute scientific value. On the other hand, Gori reaches the conclusion after these investigations, that the protagonist of the painting, and who has always been surrounded by a mysterious halo, would not be Lisa Gherardini, the Giocondo's wife, as art historians have maintained over time, but Bianca Sforza, wife of Sanseverino, and daughter of Ludovico Il Moro, Duke of Milan, and Lord of Bobbio.

The new revelations confirm the convening power of this masterpiece of art history, of small dimensions (oil on panel 77x53cm), which make this painting one of the symbols of Western culture. In 1797, it was integrated into the collection of the Louvre Museum, where it has remained to date, with few exceptions. Napoleon Bonaparte had it installed in his chambers, and later, during the Franco-Prussian War, it was hid in a secret place. In 1911, the painting was stolen from the Louvre Museum by Vicenzo Peruggia, with the aim of seeing it exhibited in Italy, the author's homeland. In 1913, the Gioconda was found in Florence, and delivered to the Louvre. Since 2005, the painting has hung on the wall erected especially for this panel, in the La Gioconda room (Salle des États), dedicated to Italian painting.

JE comments:  It's amazing that the most studied work in the history of art could still yield its secrets.  Thank you for filling us in, Consoly!

It could be sacrilege in this context, but my vote for the world's greatest painting goes to Velázquez's Las Meninas.  There is so much more going on than in the Mona Lisa.

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