A new theory is emerging on the question that has kept art lovers in suspense for centuries: where was the Mona Lisa painted? According to Ann Pizzorusso, geologist and historian of Renaissance art, Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting – now on display at the Louvre in Paris – was painted in Lecco, on the shores of Lake Como. To reach this conclusion, Pizzorusso combined his two areas of expertise: geology and art history. The expert, originally from Amalfi, has no doubt: the bridge seen behind the Mona Lisa corresponds to the 14th century Ponte Azzone Visconti, located in Lecco. The mountain range seen in the background corresponds to the southwest Alps, while the body of water is said to be Lake Garlate, a place Leonardo is certain to have passed through during his life.

The other hypotheses

Pizzorusso is not the first art historian to put forward a theory about where the Mona Lisa, probably the most famous painting in the world, was created. Some theories circulating in the past claimed that the painting was made in Bobbio, a small town in the province of Piacenza, where there is a bridge very similar to the one seen behind the Mona Lisa. Another hypothesis, which circulated last year, was that the painting represented a bridge in the province of Arezzo.

Pizzorusso's explanation

According to Pizzorusso, focusing only on the bridge risks leading to erroneous conclusions. “The arch bridge was omnipresent throughout Italy and Europe. It is impossible to identify an exact location just from a bridge. Everyone talks about the bridge and no one talks about geology”, explains the expert to Guardian. The detail that Pizzorusso emphasizes is the grayish white color of the rocks, which, according to the geologist, is typical of limestone rocks in the Lecco area. “We know from his notebooks that he spent a lot of time exploring the Lecco region and that further north,” Pizzorusso continues. His theory, for its part, has already sparked several comments approval: “I do not doubt for a second that Pizzorusso is right in his theory, given his perfect knowledge of the geology of the Italian landscape,” commented Jacques Franck, Leonardo's former consultant at the Louvre.

On the cover: A group of tourists photographs the Mona Lisa, on display at the Louvre in Paris (Dreamstime/Shuo Wang)

Read also:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *