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Mona Lisa, Smile: You’re in Lecco, After All

Mona Lisa, Smile: You’re in Lecco, After All


She’s been smeared with cake and doused with acid. Vigilantes have stolen her, and protesters have defaced her. She’s been lasered and prodded, displayed for the lots, and relegated to her personal basement gallery. More just lately, 1000’s urged billionaire Jeff Bezos to purchase her, after which eat her.

There is not any backside, it appears, to the mysteries of the Mona Lisa, the Leonardo da Vinci portray that has captivated artwork lovers, tradition vultures and the remainder of us for hundreds of years. Who is she? (Most possible Lisa Gherardini, the spouse of an Italian nobleman.) Is she smiling? (The brief reply — type of.) Did da Vinci initially intend to color her in another way, together with her hair clipped or in a nursing robe?

While a lot concerning the artwork world’s most enigmatic topic has been relegated to the realm of the unknowable, now, in a wierd crossover of artwork and geology, there could also be one much less thriller: the place she was sitting when da Vinci painted her.

According to Ann Pizzorusso, a geologist and Renaissance-art scholar, da Vinci’s topic is sitting in Lecco, Italy, an idyllic city close to the banks of Lake Como. The conclusion, Pizzorusso mentioned, is apparent — she figured it out years in the past, however by no means realized its significance.

“I noticed the topography close to Lecco and realized this was the placement,” she mentioned.

The nondescript background has some vital options; amongst them, a medieval bridge that the majority students have held as the important thing to da Vinci’s setting. But Pizzorusso mentioned it’s slightly the form of the lake and the gray-white limestone that betrays Lecco because the portray’s religious residence.

“A bridge is fungible,” mentioned Pizzorusso. “You have to mix a bridge with a spot that Leonardo was at, and the geology.”

Such options have been so clear to Pizzorusso that she had concluded years in the past on a visit to Lecco that the quaint, lakeside village was the setting for da Vinci’s masterpiece. She assumed, she mentioned, that such info have been self-evident. It was not till a colleague approached her, in search of info on the Mona Lisa’s potential settings, that Pizzorusso realized her conclusions had scholarly benefit.

“I’d inform individuals, however I simply by no means did something,” she mentioned. Now although, mapping expertise has made her thesis extra palatable.

“Everything has conspired to essentially make my thought way more provable and presentable,” she mentioned, talking from Lecco, the place she is going to formally current her conclusions at a geology occasion.

Still, such secrets and techniques have turn into inherent to the intrigue surrounding the holy canvas. For centuries, the Mona Lisa has confounded, delighted, upset and befuddled artists and artwork lovers. As her famously delicate edges develop existentially sharper, maybe we should ask: Is it the portray we love, or its mysteries?

“In Lecco they’ve been mentioning this for years,” Donald Sassoon, a professor of comparative European historical past, mentioned. He pointed to a 2016 article in an area Italian information web site by a scholar from Lecco who recognized related geographical options to these famous by Pizzorusso.

“I’d not trouble,” Professor Sassoon mentioned when requested about reporting Pizzorusso’s discover. “Identifying the placement would don’t have any affect.”

For Pizzorusso, although, the conclusion is much less concerning the artwork than the person. In the discrete clues of the Mona Lisa, da Vinci reveals himself not solely as a talented painter, she mentioned, but in addition as a tediously cautious pupil of science and geology.

“Any time he paints a rock,” Pizzorusso mentioned, “it’s correct.”

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