When was Mona Lisa painted? (Mona DOB?)
"Mona Lisa could have been completed a decade later than thought"
"A drawing of rocks by Leonardo in the Royal Collection provides evidence that the artist worked on the portrait for much longer than the dates officially given by the Louvre"
This article is using the newly cleaned Prodo Mona and a later sketch of Rocks by Leonardo to challenge that the Mona Lisa was painted later than was previously claimed.
The 1503 starting date is still being held to be accurate since that is when Vasari claimed it was started and a note found recently (in the margins of an old book) that said Lisa was being painted during 1503 as well. The note said that Leo was painting a portrait of Lisa G, and it was dated to 1503 - thus "Verifying" that he both painted Lisa and he was in that year.
Without getting into my own theories (yet) and how I came to think she was painted both earlier and later than the official time frame I would like to explain some more obvious reasons that those original dates don't make much sense.
First, regardless when Leo started to paint "her" he never gave the portrait to Lisa and kept it with him until he died in France. The King either bought or was given the painting after, or possibly before da's death. (There are conflicting stories)
The painting is made up of thousands of layers of paint and transparent glaze that is applied in layers that are smaller than a human hair! Not to mention the 3 other paintings that are underneath the top coat (it was x-rayed) Imagine how long something like that would take? Even if someone spent all the time they could working on it, it is too intricate and detailed to make any kind of brief time span plausible. Leonardo was working on other things, writing his journals, traveling, and had a job as the King of France's Painter in the later part of his life. It should also be taken into consideration how tedious and almost redundant the level of detail that went into Mona's creation.
I won't explain it here (Its in the book) But Leo was said to have his hand paralyzed (from a stroke?) in the last couple years of his life. Since he was the "official painter" to the King of France, having a "paralyzed" hand would have been a great excuse to not paint anything. Instead he became bff's with the King and became more of a court- philosopher and adviser. Was he claiming to have a paralyzed had so he wouldn't have to paint - so he could secretly paint? Was he really paralyzed? Couldn't he paint with his other hand? (Greatest genius of all time/ mirror writing/ amadexterous?) There are other possible variables that go into why he would have hid his hand and faked not being able to paint.
The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world, it has been for a while now. It's been studied and researched and scanned, photographed, protected.. about as much as a painting could be. It wasn't until we developed modern technology that she has really been fully appreciated. They did laser scans on her and it revealed that the paint was applied so specially that no one can explain how he did it. Meaning that 500 years ago this Genius! Man developed a painting process, a technique, that we can't explain in 2012. There are places with NO BRUSH STROKES.
So Bair with me here. With that aforementioned still fresh in your mind, consider it again - Does a 4-6 year time frame make sense? Its much more likely that Leonardo continued to work on this same painting over and over throughout his life. Almost 20 years! Think about it. Why would he spend so much time and effort into a portrait of a "Lisa" - that he never gave it to?
Also think about the confusion that would result from the painting being thick, and being layered - layers that haven't been visible after new layers were applied, thousands of times over.. If he spent a possible 20 years on a single painting, covering it up, over and over and over and over - it would have looked different at different times. So when Vasari (or anyone else) saw it in 1503-1506 and said it was: "Unfinished" and a "Portrait of Lisa Giacondo" wouldn't have anything to do with that SAME painting many years later. It would have been painted over again and again. SO that means that what we see today -the Mona Lisa - looked different at different stages in her development. She grew up and evolved over a "life span.:"
This brings us to the later stages of her life and why the Mona LISA we see today couldn't have been a portrait of the "real life" Lisa G. Not considering the time and effort that went into it- and not giving it to her - we come to another problem. How could Leonardo continue to paint a portrait of a certain lady - after she was no longer posing for him? YEARS later? Without a real life person sitting in front of you, how could you keep her face accurate after applying thousands of layers on top of the original? AFTER she was no longer there?
When I do photoshop airbrushing I use a feature called "Layers" The base is the original photo. Then I will create a new layer and digitally paint on the original to add what I want. Then I will alter that layers "Opacity" to blend the original with what I have just added on the next layer. Then I will "Flatten the Image" Thus making the base image - and the next layer - into one image - the next "base layer." I will repeat that process until I get the desired effect. Since this is all digital and the original picture has been preserved separately I can go back and compare the final image to the original. BUT 500 years ago, whatever you covered up on that base layer - is lost. There are certain images that i've made that are so different than the original - that if I didn't have that original starting image saved - you couldn't even tell that the final image was based off of the original.. In the majority of photoshop airbrushing I do, the number of layers used is around 3-30ish. The Mona Lisa has THOUSANDS of these layers! Built up from the base and then each subsequent layer obscuring those beneath them - never to be seen again until 500 years later. SO how accurate, if the base coat is really of a real life Lisa G - would the top layer that was "finished" a dozen years later?
This article about the rocks and extending the date because of this new finding - is probably valid. If scans revealed that the under layers showed the same rocks that were found in sketches from years later - apparently it would have to of been painted around that same date. Or trying to explain it in an easier way - while Leonardo was painting the Mona Lisa he changed the rocks in the background that were similar to rocks he drew on a date. So if the rocks he drew in 1510ish (on paper) were the same as in the lower layers of Mona - she must have still been "in production" before and after that date. Think about the Mona Lisa being like tree rings or archeology. If there was something embedded in a layer/ ring that was specifically dated, it means that that thing was from that date - like a time capsule. - EG. If I was creating a photoshop layer and pasted in a picture taken on my birthday a year ago - and then continued to add to it, you would know that THAT layer was added on my birthday. It couldn't have been placed there before that day.
Those are just some more obvious reasons that verify the life span of the Mona Lisa to being very long. (In painted years) ((Why spend 20 years on a painting??))
The reasons, besides what I just typed, that led me to think that she was started and "finished" way outside the traditional time-scape is even more, and less complicated.
I'll preface the excerpt from my book with this: The Mona Lisa's face align's and combines with Leonardo's self portrait that is dated from 1516+. It also align's and combines with his last painting "St. John the Baptist" 1513-1516. The model' used for St. John was Salai - Leonardo's pupil and significant other' for over 25 years. So with that being taken into consideration, going in reverse order - Leo's self portrait - St. John, and the "Mona Lisa" - for each of their faces to align and combine - would mean they would have had to been based off each other. For da Vinci's self portrait to align with St. John - it would have had to been intentional. Why? For St. John's" face to align and combine with the Mona Lisa's = would also have to had been intentional and related. Following this logic - and time frame - we come to the "theory" that the title of my book is based on.
Although I will openly admit that my theory is just a theory and potentially coincidental - I cannot and have not been able to explain away the FACT that these faces align in a way that could not have been accidental. I could write a book on how not just improbable but borderline "impossible" it would be for multiple painted faces from 500+ years ago to all align and combine in the way that they do. http://www.itsjustlife.com/refutation.html and that takes us to climax of this post... uhhhh..ohhhsdaljsdaljs -
The Conception of the "Monning Lisa": the next post will be about how she was conceived of - her "Birthdate" and how and why she was born.
The following is an excerpt from the previous version of my book.
May 2007: "Discovering Da Vinci's Daughter" Pg. 346-348:
"WHEN: When was "she" painted:
"Salai's painting is dated to 1495 which means it was painted first. This means the Mona Lisa was based off of the painting of Salai and would have to be for it to match up the way they do. (Perfectly)The Mona Lisa was said to be started in 1503 and this date could be correct but the real question is if it was before or after the painting of Salai. Da Vinci's self portrait is definitely from after 1510 and it's said to be drawn in 1516 which makes sense since it represents his age. The age of Salai is also correspondent to around 1495 <- That combined with the style and technical aspects affirms that that date is correct. Da Vinci became a much better painter from 1495 to 1505.
The order would be:
1. Salai - The painting of Salai - 1495
2. Mona Lisa - Definitely after 1500 and said to be started around 1503
3. Da Vinci's Self Portrait - 1516
It's in realizing this order you also must realize that it answers indefinitely that Mona Lisa was designed around the painting of Salai. How else could they combine in the way they do unless they were specifically and methodically designed to do so? It would be impossible especially when you consider the clues and other quoes rom da Vinci himself "Mon Salai" M on Salai. In short, the "Mona Lisa" was probably started sometime around 1500, but continually painted on and off until Da Vinc's death in 1519 - almost 20 years. Not the 4 years asserted by Vasari. Da Vinci would have kept his work on the Mona Lisa secret to avoid revealing her secrets before they could be appreciated or understood.
If he would have revealed how much and how long he worked on it, people would have wondered why? Vasari's time frame was given to validate it being of Lisa G. Why would he work on a simple commission for more than 4 years? Let alone almost 20? Or even more obvious - why wouldn't he have given it to her? There is something special about a painting that the word's greatest painter spent 4, 10, or 20 years on. Considering the other layers, and immensely intricate design it's obvious there is more to this painting than meets the eye. If someone were to spend so much time working on the same canvas, it's a pretty good clue that there is more to it than a perfect portrait."