The Isleworth Mona Lisa: Were there two versions of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece?
The art world is all aflutter today after the unveiling of the "Isleworth Mona Lisa" in Geneva. The portrait looks undeniably like the real Mona Lisa that hangs in the Louvre -- but the nonprofit Mona Lisa Foundation claims that it's not a copy of the original. It actually precedes the original, making it an earlier version of the famous painting.
Some art historians claim that there needs to be more investigation before any official stance can be taken as to whether the Isleworth Mona Lisa is a copy or a draft.
"The Isleworth Mona Lisa is an important work of art deserving respect and strong consideration -- as well as a scientific, historic and artistic debate among specialists rather than a purely media interest," said Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci according to the AP. "Scientific tests don't demonstrate the authenticity (and) the autography of a painting, but demonstrate it's from a certain era, whether the techniques are similar or not. Here, there are many open questions."
One thing they can agree on? da Vinci never finished the Isleworth Mona Lisa, which some say was painted ten years earlier than the Louvre version -- meaning it is a depiction of the same woman, ten years younger. Parts of the image remain unpainted.