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Leonardo de Carbon
January 30, 2010 11:11 PM   Subscribe

Are Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa the same person! A local art historian clued me into this a couple of hours ago. Seems the biggest debate is not occurring amongst the nations of France and Italy but the scientific need to retain some tenure amongst Mona's necessity to remain an enigma.
posted by Johnny Hazard (36 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
For the record, I tried to find some local debate between Italian forensic archeologists and the rest of the world's art historians but I came up blank. But it is brewing...
posted by Johnny Hazard at 11:20 PM on January 30, 2010


I've seen the pix. Leonardo is Mona. God is dead.
posted by philip-random at 11:21 PM on January 30, 2010


Although I'm not an art historian, I wonder how much of this is akin to "Did the Earl of Oxford really write Shakespeare's plays?!"
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:25 PM on January 30, 2010


Ha ha, we discussed this in art class. Apparently my professor believes that they are.
posted by biochemist at 11:27 PM on January 30, 2010


Saxon Kane: that's exactly what it is, and for precisely the same reason. :)
posted by jrochest at 11:41 PM on January 30, 2010


What a ludicrous reason to exhume the remains of one of history's most pre-eminent figures! Easily the dumbest idea I've heard all year, and I seriously doubt the request will be granted.
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:45 PM on January 30, 2010


The guy could paint and draw, proficiently. We have self portraits, and we can compare them to the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is obviously a self portrait.

This has already been solved, there is no reason to exhume him.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:58 PM on January 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


This reminds me of the picture of my grandmother that turned out to actually be a photo of my grandfather in drag.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:03 AM on January 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


Having nothing useful to add to the debate, I'll merely state that I'm saddened by the inclusion of that exclamation point.
posted by DoubtingThomas at 12:09 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, I thought Mona Lisa was Jesus. It was in that book, by whatshisname, Dan Something...
posted by zardoz at 12:14 AM on January 31, 2010


And yet not a single one of the links thought to do this.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:24 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Egotistical artists (is there any other kind?) have a tendency to portray everyone as looking like them. Look at Rembrandt - half the women in his stuff look like him (when he can actually tear himself away from doing straight self-portraits and paint someone else).
posted by Phanx at 12:25 AM on January 31, 2010


Well all I can say is, if Leonardo da Vinci and Mona Lisa are one and the same, this throws some serious wrenches into the storyline of Assassins Creed 2.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:43 AM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thinking about a Da Vinci - Mona Lisa hybrid, I realised that not only does "Mona Vinci" contain the word "Na'vi" in it's entirety, it's also an anagram of "Navi Con Mi" - Na'vi with me.

Coincidence?!?? I think not!
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:48 AM on January 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


Meatbomb is right. This has already been solved.

On the other hand - let's make tea towels out of his skull x-rays
posted by Sparx at 3:51 AM on January 31, 2010


...Her name's not Mona. "Mona" or "Monna" is short for "Madonna," so the name means "Lady Lisa."
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:55 AM on January 31, 2010


This is enough to make me climb a really tall tower and then jump into a pile of hay.
posted by Elmore at 4:02 AM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


so the name means "Lady Lisa."

Proves that some things never change: "A lady in the streets; a mona in the sheets"
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:08 AM on January 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


So I took the time to scan through most of the linked articles and the real discovery here is that almost every article has significant comedic value buried within:

"One day I say, if I can find only one hair, only one hair of the eyebrow, I will have definitively the proof that originally Leonardo da Vinci had painted eyelash and eyebrow," said Cotte.

and

Some scholars have suggested that Leonardo's presumed homosexuality and love of riddles led him to paint himself as a woman.

That last one is classic because it really wraps it all up nicely. There could be a new field of study here. Let's say you were a Renaissance painter who had a love of riddles and nice furniture. You might have painted yourself as a carpenter. Or a painter who loves riddles and music: perhaps painted yourself as a harpsichordist. The possibilities are endless.
posted by jeremias at 5:01 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading through this, possibly the most non-artistic, non-great classical thinker popped into my head. The Rock. Aka Dwayne Johnson. When he was a wrestler, he had an amazing presence with the microphone. And all I can hear is him saying:

"It doesn't MATTER who the Mona Lisa IS!"

To get that, of course, you'd have to smell what was cooking, and who was cooking it.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:11 AM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


(not to say it's not interesting, and I hope it's not construed that way. More of an "in the grand scheme of things, what would definitive proof one way or the other mean? What would happen? I imagine not much.)
posted by Ghidorah at 5:17 AM on January 31, 2010


...Her name's not Mona. "Mona" or "Monna" is short for "Madonna," so the name means "Lady Lisa."

Well, if the post's tagged "DaVinci", I guess calling her "Mona" is sort of par for the course, no?
posted by signal at 5:20 AM on January 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


The proofs by comparison of Mona Lisa and known self-portraits of Leonardo are total fail.
They do demonstrate that Lillian Schwartz nearly invented image morphing in the 1960s (sorry, sticky).
Faces do look a lot alike. Faces from little inbred areas even more so.
This is not a disproof. It's just not a proof.

As for digging up the old artist? Sure, why not. It'll keep those pointy-headed dunces busy for a while, and someone will produce a nice new trashy novel about how they recovered some of Leonardo's DNA and made 100 clones of him, but some of them got mixed up with Hitler's DNA and produced a plethora of Lex-Luthor-style villains ... but I've already said too much.
posted by hexatron at 5:25 AM on January 31, 2010


What about this woman? Even if Leonardo did paint himself as a woman, why would it be that particular woman?

The theory is obviously insane.
posted by delmoi at 5:53 AM on January 31, 2010


Da Vinci's original burial place, the palace church of Saint Florentine, was destroyed during the French Revolution and remains believed to be his were eventually reburied in the Saint-Hubert Chapel near the castle.

So digging up the remains of someone who may or may not be Leonardo would prove what, exactly?
posted by R. Mutt at 5:59 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I realised that not only does "Mona Vinci" contain the word "Na'vi" in it's entirety, it's also an anagram of "Navi Con Mi" - Na'vi with me.

Navi Walk With Me?
posted by threeants at 7:25 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, if the post's tagged "DaVinci", I guess calling her "Mona" is sort of par for the course, no?

Descriptivism always wins. It's like Batman that way.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:28 AM on January 31, 2010


What Phanx said. It's not just egotistical artists who put something of themselves into their work, it's gormless art students with varying levels of skill.

I took a watercolour course years ago where we usually painted landscapes but in one class, we painted a model instead. After we were done, the teacher walked around the class and said that we had all painted the model to look like us, and she was right. Where we had made errors in reproducing her face faithfully, that nose or jawline or eye shape looked more like our own. Even the strongest student in the class produced a painting that bore a strong family resemblance to him. We could have had a stranger walk into that class, sort through the stack of paintings, and have a pretty good shot of assigning each one to the student who made it.

You can also look at the art of people who we have photographs of, like Renoir or Maurice Sendak, and see some resemblance between the artist and many figures in their art.

I think it's possible that the Mona Lisa was a fully conscious attempt at a self-portrait in drag, or that he was enough of an egotist to deliberately make a real woman look more like him, but it's also quite likely that the apparent resemblance is partly coincidental, partly the aesthetic style of the time and partly the same human oddity that made a bunch of mildly talented Toronto students such imperfect two legged photocopiers.
posted by maudlin at 8:22 AM on January 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


What??? You exhume bodies to solve crimes or perhaps for *significant scientific or historic debates.
posted by njbradburn at 8:26 AM on January 31, 2010


After we were done, the teacher walked around the class and said that we had all painted the model to look like us, and she was right.

Eh, it's likely that her making the suggestion would alter your subjective experiences of the images. Would you have noticed if she hadn't told you? Probably not.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 AM on January 31, 2010


I agree, we would have been less likely to notice if she hadn't said that. And that same bias is at work, I think, when people look at self-portraits of Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa. (I was going to pre-emptively make that point in my original post, but decided to edit it out and wait instead.)
posted by maudlin at 9:18 AM on January 31, 2010


Mona lip sync
posted by hortense at 10:13 AM on January 31, 2010


*sigh* You were introduced to this a few hours ago? Man, it's gotta be tough to know that this debate has been going on for eons between art historians and the two sides are basically "ZOMG! DRAG!" and "Who cares?"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:14 AM on January 31, 2010


". . . You know I love you baby
Oh you know I love you baby
Now if I don't love you baby I tell you

Grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultries,
And Mona Lisa was a man"
posted by Herodios at 11:35 AM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Leonardo da Vinci's Resume
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Navi Walk With Me?

You'll Na'vi walk alone.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:17 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


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