Geologist Believes to Have Uncovered Where the ‘Mona Lisa’ Was Painted


Geologist Believes to Have Uncovered Where the ‘Mona Lisa’ Was Painted

While undoubtedly the most recognized painting in the world, the Mona Lisa (1503-1519) is also one of the most puzzling since it was painted centuries ago by Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Both the sitter and background remain a point of contention for art historians…until now. Well, allegedly and only the latter part.

According to Ann Pizzorusso, who is both an art historian and geologist, da Vinci’s Renaissance masterpiece was painted in Lecco, Italy — located on the southeastern shore of Lake Como — drawing comparisons to the rock formations found in the background of the artwork to the small town’s towering mountainside. “I am very gratified that I am able to shed light on Leonardo’s accomplishments as a geologist,” Pizzorusso told the Guardian. “He had a great respect for nature and depicted it accurately in every painting. For him, unlike other artists, he valued the landscape as much as the figures.”

Pizzorusso supports her claims by comparing the body of water, bridge and mountainside in the painting to Lecco’s, which is a closer match than Bobbio or Arrezzo — two towns that have been previously theorized as da Vinci’s source of inspiration — but neither containing a lake. “Geologists don’t look at paintings and art historians don’t look at geology,” Pizzorusso added. “Art historians said Leonardo always used his imagination, but you can give this picture to any geologist in the world and they’ll say what I’m saying about Lecco. Even a non-geologist can now see the similarities.”

Roughly 10 million people travel from around the world to see the Mona Lisa, which creates a cluster of onlookers at any one time. According to a recent report, however, Louvre officials are considering relocating the Renaissance painting to the museum’s basement level to enhance accessibility.

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