The mystery surrounding the 'Mona Lisa second' painting
The Mona Lisa-like picture was hung in an apartment in London in the 1960s. Is this the first version of the famous painting?
In 2012, an organization called the Mona Lisa Foundation announced to the world a painting similar to the Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, calling it the "old Mona Lisa" and confirming it was also drawn by Leonardo. Because the Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world and Leonardo is one of the greatest painters in history, this finding is of great interest in the art world.
The Mona Lisa Foundation presented a slew of evidence to prove the painting was the second, unknown version of the famous portrait on display at the Louvre. However, the organization claims it does not own the painting, which belongs to an anonymous international corporation.
However, in south London, Andrew and Karen Gilbert have another story: they own 25% of the "old Mona Lisa". When they contacted the Mona Lisa Foundation, the organization responded that they knew nothing about Gilbert's house. "We couldn't find out who the owner was, nobody told us anything, we didn't know how to launch the proceedings," Karen said.
Mona Lisa is a 16th century portrait painted by Leonardo da Vinci on canvas on a poplar board in Florence, Italy. The face of the Mona Lisa in the painting makes people unable to predict whether she is laughing or not, making this work the subject of debate among many analysts.
Meanwhile, the "old Mona Lisa" is also the center of the mystery related to the tax haven in the Caribbean, the Swiss bank's locker, an international corporation and the "Sherlock Holmes of the art world". .
Is this "Mona Lisa old" a true work of Leonardo?
"I am skeptical about that but very curious," said Professor Jean-Pierre Isbouts, from Fielding University in California, USA. He was brought to Switzerland by the Mona Lisa Foundation to inspect the painting.
"I walked into the storage area of the Swiss bank, it was very cold and I spent about two hours looking at the painting. But actually after 5 minutes I realized it was Leonardo's work."
He believed the portrait to be a real painting not only for drawing but also for historical evidence. "Giorgio Vasari, biographer of 16th century Leonardo, clearly stated that Leonardo had drawn the Mona Lisa for four years but then left it unfinished."
This is consistent with the appearance of the "old Mona Lisa" - the version has an incomplete background, unlike the famous portrait in the Louvre. Professor Isbouts also pointed out historical records referring to Leonardo drawing the Mona Lisa painting for two different clients, increasing the possibility that he drew two separate portraits.
Professor Isbouts added that scientific trials also support this argument. "Scientific examination results show that this painting was actually drawn in the early 16th century, it is definitely a work of Leonardo because the layout is identical to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. The color digital charts used to show how the two paintings are exactly the same. "
But not everyone agrees, including Martin Kemp, emeritus professor of art history at Oxford University. He disagrees with the fact that historical records show that two Mona Lisa have been drawn. According to him, biographer Vasari did not know enough.
Instead, Professor Kemp said that Leonardo never gave the portrait to the first customer, but only to the second. He did not rule out the possibility that the painting the Mona Lisa Fund published was the work of Leonardo but he found no compelling evidence to prove it. According to him, the results of the infrared test showed that the drawing method of the two paintings was the same, but this is "the type of drawing when you are copying something rather than creating".
What supporters of the "old Mona Lisa" hypothesis are Leonardo da Vinci's work needs to do is explain where the painting comes from.
It suddenly appeared in 1913, when British art collector and trader Hugh Blaker bought it from a manor in Somerset. Professor Robert Meyrick of Aberystwyth University, who studies the lives of the artisans, said: "Blaker believes he has found a good deal." However, Blaker ultimately failed to resell it to anyone.
After Blaker died, the painting came to an eccentric painting dealer named Henry Pulitzer. He believes that the "old Mona Lisa" is more impressive than the work in the Louvre. However, Pulitzer needed help persuading the world that both were painted by Leonardo.
"He spent a lot of money promoting, because he wanted to prove that it was really a painting by Leonardo da Vinci," Andrew Gilbert said.
His family knew Pulitzer, who bought and sold his paintings to him. They showed the BBC a series of documents showing that the family bought 25% of the "old Mona Lisa" painting in 1964 and provided photos showing it hung on Pulitzer's London apartment fireplace. About a decade later, Pulitzer stored the portrait in a Swiss bank deposit box. After his death, the painting went to an anonymous international corporation in 2008.
The Mona Lisa Foundation strongly opposed Gilbert's statement. The fund's chairman said in July that their words were "baseless and unreasonable".
However, the family continued to pursue this issue and relied on "Sherlock Holmes of the art world," the nickname of Christopher Marinello, CEO of private company Art Recovery International, which provided appraisal, dispute resolution and recover paintings. Thanks to Marinello, the Gilbert family began legal proceedings against the Mona Lisa Foundation in Italy while the painting was exhibited in Florence. However, neither Marinello nor the Gilberts are sure whether the "old Mona Lisa" is true of Leonardo's work.
When the trial took place last week, Gilbert's lawyer, Jac Protti, said that this was "the most intricate and interesting case I have ever participated in".
The Gilbert family effort has yielded some results. Karen Gilbert said the Mona Lisa Foundation declared before the judge that the Mona Lisa Inc in Anguilla, British overseas territory in the Caribbean, was the owner of the painting. "This is the first time the fund has revealed its owner. of the picture.
Although there is no indication that the organization or the international corporation has committed any wrongdoing, Anguilla is known as a "tax haven" (country or territory that does not tax or take very tax). low) with a discreet way of doing business.
Mona Lisa Foundation lawyer, Marco Parducci, said Gilbert's statement showed that they were motivated by "economic interests and the desire to destroy the fund". The next trial will take place in March next year.
Leonardo, who died 500 years ago, what would he think about the troubles surrounding the "old Mona Lisa" painting?
"He will be extremely pleased. He cares about fame," Professor Kemp laughed while saying. "Leonardo may not like some silly arguments, but the fact that his name is The most known name in cultural history? He will be very pleased, "Kemp added.
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