Mona Lisa model 'was male lover'

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The Independent Culture

A male apprentice, longtime companion and possibly lover of Leonardo da Vinci was the main influence and a model for the Mona Lisa, an Italian researcher claims.

The apprentice, Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, worked with Leonardo for more than two decades starting in 1490. The researcher, Silvano Vinceti, described their relationship as "ambiguous".

Several Leonardo works, including St John the Baptist and a lesser-known drawing, Angel Incarnate, were based on Salai, Mr Vinceti said.