Dec 13, 2010

Mona Lisa Initials Discovery Can Be Safely Dismissed

Today, 13 December 2010, news spread among some sources about the "discovery" on the part of TV presenter Silvano Vinceti that initials were found on the eyes of Leonardo's Mona Lisa.  On the right eye the initials LV were supposedly found, and the initials CE or CB could be seen on the left.

Unfortunately this is an example of looking too hard to find something that may or may not be there.  The celebrity TV presenter in question, Mr Vinceti, is a notorious hunter after mysteries that do not exist, at least not according to proper and thorough study and peer-reviewed scholarship.  I’m as much a fan as the next fellow for secret revelation treasure hunts, but this one is just silly.  Five-plus centuries of studies, including countless books, conservations, and scientific analyses have not revealed any initials in the eyes of the Mona Lisa.  Keep in mind that this same presenter tried to convince the world that Leonardo was actually a woman and that Caravaggio died of lead poisoning.  

Leonardo's Mona Lisa is nothing more than a very beautiful 16th century portrait, one which happened to be Leonardo’s favorite, which is one reason for its fame, and also happened to have been stolen in 1911, which is the other reason for its status as the world’s most famous artwork.  It is beautifully painted according to humanist artistic standards and the use of the Golden Mean to achieve ideally balanced proportions—and there ends the intrigue, I’m afraid.  Like Pope Joan, like the Priory of Sion, this is another theory which may be safely and quickly dismissed as the creation of an over-active and hyper-enthusiastic imagination on the part of a publicity hunter.

With so many real mysteries in the history of art, there's really no need to invent ones.