Early Mona Lisa unveiled for the first time
The Early Mona Lisa painting has been unveiled to the public for the first time at The Arts House at the Old Parliament in Singapore. It is thought to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci a decade before his iconic Mona Lisa, sometime in 1503.
Needless to say, it has proved to be a divisive work of art, with one side arguing it to be a genuine da Vinci and the other side claiming it wasn’t painted by the artist. Accordingly, its supporters have released, as part of the exhibition, further evidence that confirms its authenticity.
It was first revealed properly to the world in 2012, despite the fact that it had emerged from obscurity 100 years beforehand. It was accidentally discovered by the art expert Hugh Blaker in 1913 during a visit to an aristocrat’s abode in Somerset.
The Mona Lisa Foundation has spent the last 35 years researching, analysing and testing the painting to determine whether it is a genuine da Vinci, concluding that indeed, this portrait of a younger Lisa del Giocondo, was executed by the genius.
Scientist and emeritus professor John Asmus, from the University of California, said that he is confident that the Early Mona Lisa is a da Vinci: “The case here for it being a Leonardo is much stronger than generally acknowledged paintings. I would say that it is 99 per cent certain that the two Mona Lisas were done by the same artist.”
Some of the evidence includes the materials used to paint the work being similar to that deployed by da Vinci, the use of similar geometric principles being evident in both works of art, the fact that elements evident in the early work being duplicated in the later, more iconic one and the conclusion that hidden clues in this painting are indicative of da Vinci’s hand.
Together, as a whole, these factors, along with others, leave the owners of the work and its supporters of the opinion that this could not have been painted by anyone other than da Vinci.
“It is quite astounding to think that this painting is over 500 years old, and yet we have only recently managed to uncover so much new information about its provenance”, commented Dr Markus A. Frey, president of the Mona Lisa Foundation.
“Though the painting’s attribution to da Vinci is now undisputable, the foundation’s work must continue to enhance the appreciation of this great masterpiece through public exhibitions worldwide.”
Sceptics are still to be persuaded. Speaking to the BBC recently, da Vinci expert Martin Kemp, emeritus professor of art at Oxford University, said that the so-called Early Mona Lisa is a copy of the masterpiece – and thus pitching its execution to be after the original was painted – and an unfinished work of art. He also added that the fact it is being unveiled in Singapore and not in a “serious art museum or gallery” is in itself a “significant” factor that does little to suggest it is genuine.
“Leonardo’s landscapes always seethed with a sense of life,” he told the broadcaster. “It’s inert. The drapery is inert, and what Leonardo did was he could always give the sense that even something static like drapery had a life to it, a vitality and an inherent movement in it, and this is a heavy-handed, static picture.”
Cadogan Tate has extensive experience in shipping fine art all over the world.