Banco Fiorentino

The Young Mona Lisa in Florence

Palazzo Bastogi houses "Earlier Mona Lisa", which most scholars attribute to Leonardo


The painting The earlier Mona Lisa, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, is exposed to Palazzo Bastogi in Via Cavour n. 18. Florence could not pay tribute in a better way to the genius of the Renaissance of which this year is the 500 ° of death. The inauguration took place on Saturday 9 June, in the presence of the princesses Natalia and Irina Strozzi Guicciardini, descendants of Lisa Gherardini. The work will be visible until 30 luglio.

Was it worth setting up an entire exhibition for a single painting? Without the slightest doubt. The organizers have prepared an extraordinary multimedia path - and there is also one for children and one for the blind -, along which the visitor can follow a tablet (recommended) or even just read a series of posters. In this way he will learn all the elements related to the Young Mona Lisa: historical, artistic, scientific. And he will also be able to admire some original antique texts.

An incunabulum with notes in the margin by Agostino Vespucci
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AN ADVENTUROUS STORY. Unfortunately, there is no news from the Young Mona Lisa until 1778, when an Englishman, James Marwood, bought it in Italy (where exactly? Ah, to know!) And took it to his homeland. The work then had several owners, until it was acquired in the 2008 by Mona Lisa Foundation, anonymous foundation specifically set up. Its members have kept it safe from speculation by gallery owners and auction houses (honor to merit), and have subjected it to numerous scientific analyzes led by experts, to prove its authenticity. The results are shown in the path.

IS IT REALLY OPERA DI LEONARDO? There is no absolute certainty. The original sources, like those concerning the Louvre painting, are damn scarce and contradictory. However, scientific studies have shown that there is no single element that can deny the attribution to Leonardo. Dating, technique, style, means, are completely compatible with the basic hypothesis: that Leonardo created the work around 1504.

IS THIS A LISA DEL GIOCONDO? This too cannot be given for sure, but historians consider it very probable. Also Carlo Pedretti, the world's leading authority on Leonardo, unfortunately missed at the beginning of the 2018, although without expressing absolute certainties, he nevertheless pronounced in favor of the authenticity of the painting. Of the same opinion Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the Ideal Leonardo Da Vinci Museum. Like any serious researcher, he states that the hypothesis is concrete and fascinating, and therefore requires further study. Studies that will hopefully clarify the relationship with the much more famous Mona Lisa exhibited at the Louvre. Studies that will resume after the painting has completed a tour that will take him to China.

For now and until 30 July can be seen in Florence from Monday to Friday with 10.30 17.30, on Thursday until 19.30. Admission is free. Whether it's authentic or not (I repeat: it probably is), the Young Mona Lisa is still beautiful. For some, more than the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Don't miss it. This is an absolutely unique occasion.


Paolo marini

View posts by Paolo Marini
Writer, blogger, active cultural popularizer in particular on historical and / or artistic subjects.
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