It seems unlikely, but it’s possible. There’s a new report making the rounds that a second version of da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa has been found in a private collection in St. Petersburg. Experts are analyzing the work to determine whether it is genuine or, if like so many others, it’s just a very well-done replica. The research is being conducted by Italian art expert Silvano Vinceti, who believes there’s a fair amount of evidence to indicate the painting could be authentic.
“To the untrained eye, this ‘second version’ or ‘new Mona Lisa looks strikingly similar to the world-famous painting that hangs in the Louvre,” reports ArtNet. The newly discovered work features two columns that do not appear in the known version, but it’s possible the artist elected to lose them in the final version. Other similarities include colors and techniques, which are being examined via infra-red technology.
“There are many indicators pointing to the Tuscan artistic genius,” says Vincenti, “but of course it’s only a hypothesis.”
The research team is using newly-developed software that was developed by Carlo Pedretti, a da Vinci expert. The program will help the team gain better understanding of the original artwork and to uncover more similarities between it and the newly discovered version. As more similarities come up, Pedretti too believes the piece could be a real da Vinci.
“It’s clear from the columns, present in the Russian painting and in the preparatory study, but also in the perfect resemblance between the upper lip in the prepatory study, the Russian painting and the Mona Lisa in the Louvre,” he said. And if the painting isn’t a genuine Leonardo, it could have been a recreation by one of his pupils, which would still be a pretty cool thing.
Everybody loves the Mona Lisa; it’s arguably the world’s most famous painting. Last year, a younger version of the work was found in Singapore, and a new theory suggested the woman in the portrait could be da Vinci’s mother, who may have been a Chinese slave. We won’t know for a while yet if the new painting is a genuine one, so we’ll all have to wait and see for now—but how cool would it be if it were authentic after all?