Experts ask: Did Da Vinci draw a nude Mona Lisa?

05th October 2017

Art experts and scientists have claimed that a nude sketch that bears a close resemblance to the famous Mona Lisa masterpiece could indeed have been dawn by Leonardo da Vinci.

In Paris’s Louvre - where the Mona Lisa is held - a charcoal drawing titled the Monna Vanna is being analysed and has been attributed to the Florentine master’s studio. 

Since 1862, the large drawing of a nude female was held in the great collection of Renaissance art at the Conde Museum, in the palace of Chantilly, north of the French capital, reports the Guardian.

While the entirety of the sketch cannot yet be fully attributed to the Renaissance master, after many weeks of tests curators believe the drawing is at least partially by Leonardo da Vinci.

Curator Mathieu Deldicque commented on the revelation: “The drawing has a quality in the way the face and hands are rendered that is truly remarkable. It is not a pale copy.

“We are looking at something which was worked on in parallel with the Mona Lisa at the end of Leonardo’s life. It is almost certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting.”

The experts have revealed that the hands and body in the sketch are almost an exact copy to those of the Mona Lisa, Deldicque. In addition to this, the drawing is almost the same size as the Mona Lisa, with the small holes pierced around the figure suggesting it could have been used to trace the form onto a canvas. 

Bruno Mottin - a Louvre conservation expert - has confirmed that the drawing was definitely created during da Vinci’s lifetime, roughly at the turn of the 15th century. He also stated that the high-quality work was not a copy of a lost original. 

However, he said that experts and art enthusiasts must not jump to conclusions about definitively attributing the sketch to Leonardo until it is fully confirmed. 

“The hatching on the top of the drawing near the head was done by a right-handed person. Leonardo drew with his left hand. It is a job that is going to take some time,” Mr Mottin said. “It is a very difficult drawing to work on because it is particularly fragile.”

Leonardo da Vinci died in Amboise, France, in 1519. While there is currently roughly 20 paintings and drawings of nude Mona Lisas in collections across the globe, the majority have proved difficult to date.

Nevertheless, according to the Guardian, Mr Mottin said that they hoped to establish the identity of the artist behind the nude Mona Lisa within two years. If this deadline is met, it will be just in time for an exhibition at Chantilly which will commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death.

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