The other Mona Lisa

Leonado Da Vinci’s workshops were centers where dozens of artists learned to paint and do other jobs related to everything that the master carried out in his creative life. The most important was established in Milan during the time of Ludovico Sforza, attended by Antonio Boltraffio and Marco d’Oggiono. One of the workshop activities was making copies, known as ‘ritratti’. The disciples and collaborators copied the works of Da Vinci once they were finished by the author and on other occasions the author allowed them to paint them during the same process of creating the works. This was the case with a copy of the Mona Lisa owned by the Prado Museum, restored ten years ago, which is now exhibited along with other works by Da Vinci’s disciples. Until recently it was thought that this was a reproduction of the Mona Lisa copied by some of those who came to Da Vinci’s workshop after the work was finished, but research carried out using the latest technologies, such as infrared reflectography, has allowed amazing discoveries related to this reproduction. This was known to be the earliest extant copy of the Mona Lisa, but recent analyzes have deduced that, up to a certain point, the work was done simultaneously with Da Vinci’s own. Every time the author corrected the original, the copyist did the same, thus reproducing the entire process of making the work, more complex than that of a simple copy. The author of this Mona Lisa has also been identified as the same person who made the copy of Santa Ana that is preserved in the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Ganay version of the Salvator Mundi, both present in the monographic exhibition that the Museo del Prado has organized around this theme with the title “Leonardo and the copy of Mona Lisa. New approaches to the practice of the Vinciano workshop ”. All three works are known to have been made under the supervision of Da Vinci. What is unknown is the name of this gifted disciple. .

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