FLORENCE, ITALY – The Prado Museum has disclosed the finding of a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s Gioconda. The replica was allegedly painted by one of the Italian genius’ favourite pupils, either Andrea Salari or Francesco Melzi.
According to the Prado experts, Leonardo’s pupil completed the picture as his master completed the Gioconda, in the same studio in Florence, Italy. Leonardo Da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy.
The news were reported by Prado’s sources quoted in El Pais. It took Prado experts months to clean the dark coat of paint covering the painting. For years, the painting had been considered by El Prado one out of several copies of Leonardo’s masterpiece; in the end, however, it was clarified that the painting had to classified as a contemporary replica of the original Gioconda. The replica is practically the same size of the original painting: 76X57 cm (the original Gioconda is 77X53).
Mona Lisa is named for Lisa del Giocondo, a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany and the wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. The painting was commissioned for their new home and to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea.The sitter’s identity was ascertained at the Heidelberg University in 2005 by a library expert who discovered a 1503 margin note written by Agostino Vespucci.
Several other individuals have been proposed as the subject of the painting. Other suggestions have been Isabella of Naples, Cecilia Gallerani, Costanza d’Avalos, Duchess of Francavilla, Isabella d’Este, Pacifica Brandano or Brandino, Isabela Gualanda, Caterina Sforza, and Leonardo himself.