The Isleworth Mona Lisa? Foundation claims Da Vinci's masterpiece had twin

 

A foundation says it will prove to the world today that Leonardo Da Vinci painted an earlier version of the Mona Lisa - a claim doubted by at least one expert on the multifaceted Renaissance artist.

The Zurich-based Mona Lisa Foundation, which has been working with the anonymous owners of the "Isleworth Mona Lisa" says that after 35 years of research, experts believe it predates the famed 16th-century masterpiece by some 11 or 12 years based on regression tests, mathematical comparisons and historical and archival records.

"So far, not one scientific test has been able to disprove that the painting is by Leonardo," said art historian Stanley Feldman, a foundation member and principal author of a foundation book Mona Lisa: Leonardo's Earlier Version to be released today. "We have used methods that were not available to Leonardo 500 years ago."

"When we do a very elementary mathematical test, we have discovered that all of the elements of the two bodies - the two people, the two sitters - are in exactly the same place," Mr Feldman said.

"It strikes us that in order for that to be so accurate, so meticulously exact, only the person who did one did the other ... It's an extraordinary revelation in itself, and we think it's valid."

The Isleworth painting - likewise a portrait of a young woman with an enigmatic smile - is slightly larger, was painted on canvas and has brighter colours than the famed Louvre Museum masterpiece painted on wood. The posture, folded hand positions, faces, expressions and clothing are similar, while the landscape in the background is different.

The foundation says the painting turned up in the home of an English nobleman in the late 1800s - thus the connection to Isleworth, south-west London - and was shipped to the United States for safekeeping during the First World War. After the war it was analysed in Italy, and eventually taken to Switzerland where it remained in a bank vault for the last 40 years, the group said.

The Isleworth Mona Lisa has been known publicly for generations - if forgotten by the broader public - and the book excerpts numerous news headlines about the painting and the possibility of its Da Vinci connection in the early 20th century.

Martin Kemp, an Oxford University professor and Leonardo expert, said in an email that "the reliable primary evidence provides no basis for thinking that there was 'an earlier' portrait of Lisa del Giocondo" - referring to the subject of the painting known as the Mona Lisa in English and La Joconde in French.

Prof Kemp questioned the "debatable interpretations" of source material about the Isleworth painting, and said scientific analysis cannot categorically deny that Da Vinci did not paint it. But he added: "The infrared reflectography and X-ray points very strongly to its not being by Leonardo.

"The Isleworth Mona Lisa miss-translates subtle details of the original, including the sitter's veil, her hair, the translucent layer of her dress, the structure of the hands ..."

Prof Kemp wrote: "The landscape is devoid of atmospheric subtlety. The head, like all other copies, does not capture the profound elusiveness of the original."

The Louvre Museum declined to comment.

AP

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones