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I believe that this work is a copy of the Louvre Mona Lisa done by Francesco Melzi or another of Leonardo’s students or apprentices. The lack of the “”sfumato” background, a technique that can be found in several of the master’s works, along with the use of canvas and any definite provenance should be seen as red flags attesting to the work as being inauthentic.
I definitely agree with Dr Johnson, that indeed these points would raise red flags, but that’s why you need to do the research. To say that Leonardo did not paint it because it was on canvas is an uneducated understanding of the timing of when the painting was made, and also a misguided understanding of art in itself. Leonardo did not solely paint on wood, nor did Leonardo always paint a whole picture himself.
To be able to paint on a larger piece than the Louvre Mona Lisa, but maintain the exact proportions, I would suggest that only someone who painted the same topic could replicate that level of detail. It’s not like they had photo enlargers in the past. The level of detail in the hands and face would indicate that definitely Leonardo painted these aspects.
I would love to view this piece before passing further judgement, and more importantly whether this was a Leonardo or not, this is a 500+ year old painting of immaculate quality and sensational beauty.
Let us answer you comments: - “I believe that this work is a copy of the Louvre Mona Lisa”: It is The Mona Lisa Foundation’s contention that this painting cannot be a copy. For more information as to why this cannot be, please see http://monalisa.org/2012/10/18/is-the-earlier-mona-lisa-a-copy/ - “The lack of sfumato background”: It has never been contended that the background was painted by Leonardo. In fact, this is what makes this painting interesting as it fits with a missing “unfinished” Mona Lisa, as described by Vasari in 1550, 30 years after Leonardo’s death. - The “use of canvas”: for more information on Leonardo and canvas, please see http://monalisa.org/2012/10/14/did-leonardo-paint-on-canvas/
Leonardo had many gifted apprentices and students who actively copied his work and aside from the use of canvas which I will concede, I find no evidence to indicate that Leonardo did not always paint a picture himself. Much of the problems that Leonardo had with his patrons derived from his inability to finish his commissions and eyewitness accounts of his working on the Last Supper have depicted him as the solitary painter. In addition the exact proportions can be used by any painter - that’s why they call it copying. The only positive argument for its being by Leonardo is the work described by Vasari which I will have to investigate ay greater length.
I checked the “Lives” and couldn’t find any reference to the second copy. Can you tell me the source of the Vasari description of 1550 and whether there might be a link to the document? Many thanks.