Hey, Mona, Where Are You, Really?


Artistic stalkers keep trying to home in on Leonardo da Vinci’s historic Mona Lisa. In the latest effort, experts believe they’ve pinpointed the painting’s landscape location.

Italy Magazine reports:

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Leonardo Da Vinci painted valleys, mountains, hills, a river and a bridge as a backdrop to his famous painting. Some art historians believe the background is an imaginary view portraying an idealised landscape, while others assert that it depicts a specific place…

Two researchers, geomorphologist Olivia Nesci from the University of Urbino and artist-photographer Rosetta Borchia, have published their findings in a book ‘Codice P’ (Code P). The women claim that the landscape is Montefeltro, seen from the heights of Valmarecchia in northern Italy.

After revealing further details in the book, the magazine article adds:

Nesci and Borchia are not the first to claim to have solved the mystery of the ‘Mona Lisa’ background. In 2011, art historian Carla Glori published a book ‘Enigma Leonardo’ in which she claimed that the three-arch bridge in the painting is a reference to Bobbio, a village in Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna.

Longing Lisa lovers also pursued her throughout 2012. In February, the Discovery Channel reported that conservators at Madrid’s Prado museum had identified the painting’s earliest copy. Noting that many inspired artists copied the famous rendering, Discovery explained:

According to Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale in Vinci, where Leonardo was born in 1452, the discovery is extremely important.

“Leonardo had several Spanish apprentices, and one of them was in Florence at the beginning of 1500. He was called Ferrando, and has been identified either as Fernando Y√°√±ez de la Almedina or in Fernando Llanos.”

Mentioned in Leonardo’s “Manuscript H,” Ferrando is also recorded in a 1505 document which enlists the artists working with the master at the now lost fresco The Battle of Anghiari.

Then, last July, a team of Italian archeologists sought to exhume the skeleton of Lisa Gherardini, the Florentine silk merchant’s wife who many art historians consider the model for Leonardo’s masterpiece.

“The human remains were exhumed from a crypt that lay beneath the altar at the Convent of St. Orsola in Florence, Italy for nearly 500 years,” The Examiner explained.

The bones were to undergo several tests, including radiocarbon dating and DNA comparisons to the known bones of Gherardini’s children. Haven’t heard yet of final results. But science will have its way, and time will tell.