Sunday, 5 February 2012

Our 'slight' obsession with da Vinci

While the controversy over the Vasari/da Vinci painting at the Palazzo Vechio in Firenze still evolves we are now getting ready to meet the 'new' Mona Lisa.

The objective of the Vasari/da Vinci investigation is to assert whether Vasari really 'encased' a da Vinci within one of his own works or not. The main problem is that the invasive techniques used in the investigation may damage the Vasari.  I suppose almost all of us would love to reveal an unknown da Vinci but I wonder how many would be willing to damage a Vasari in the process. The project is ongoing, despite a petition signed by around 300 scholars asking the mayor of Firenze to stop it.
See more on the NYT and BBC

The 'new' Mona Lisa emerged earlier this week. It is supposedly a copy of the piece at the Louvre, executed by one of da Vinci's pupils. The painting has been at the Prado for many years but seems to have undergone conservation work recently. Not much has been said about the conservation intervention itself, other than it revealed a background very similar to those of da Vinci's ... Experts are now saying the painting has potential to raise more information about how da Vinci's studio was operated. We will see!
More on the BBC and the Telegraph

1 comment:

  1. What I don’t understand is how the Prado painting can be 4 cm wider than the original. Is the ratio incorrect? Did the apprentice imagine an extra 4 cm to the background?

    Also, why was the panel of the copy made from a different kind of wood? If they were created in the same workshop around the same time, and one of them was created as a copy of the other, shouldn’t both panels be made of poplar? Or was polar more expensive than walnut, and therefore considered unsuitable for a ‘mere’ copy created by an apprentice?

    Well, da Vinci is very famous and his work sells well, so our obsession with him is quite understandable. A few years ago a great commercial was created (by an insurance company) in which speculations were made about the reason for the (small) size of the painting. The commercial is in Italian with Dutch subtitles, but it’s easy to understand the gist of it.


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