Saturday 25 January 2020

Mona Lisa based on Leonardo DaVinci’s gay lover, says art historian

The original Mona Lisa
The original Mona Lisa
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

An Italian art detective has claimed that Leonardo DaVinci's Mona Lisa is partly based on his male apprentice and possible gay lover.

Officially it's a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant, but Silvano Vincenti claims it is also based on Gian Giacomo Caprotti (whose nickname was Salai).

Silvano Vincenti used infra-red light to examine the painting, which hangs in the Louvre in Paris.

He claims that the subject's nose, forehead and smile are similar to those of Salai, who modelled for other paintings by DaVinci.

“The Mona Lisa is androgynous – half man and half woman. The painting was based on two models. The first was Lisa Gherardini and the second was Salai, Leonardo’s apprentice,” Vinceti told The Telegraph.

However, Martin Kemp, professor emeritus of the history of art at Oxford, refutes Vincenti's claims.

“This is a mish-mash of known things, semi-known things and complete fantasy,” he told The Telegraph.

“The infra-red images do nothing to support the idea that Leonardo somehow painted a blend of Lisa Gherardini and Salai.”

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