Does Mona Lisa’s Smile Belong to … a Man?

News 2011/02/04 16:00:00
Related Topics: Angel, Human, Gay
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It’s the most famous smile in art history. A sly, coquettish and mysterious grin that has fascinated art lovers for more than four centuries. Some have called Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa the most beautiful woman in art and among the most enigmatic images ever committed to canvas.

Hold on to your sugar loaf hat because everything you know about Mona is about to change. In a story that sounds ripped from today’s tabloid headlines, Britain’s Telegraph reports that a team of researchers has come to the conclusion that the most iconic portrait in the world may not be of a woman at all.

Scholars have long assumed Da Vinci’s master work was an image of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a wealthy Florentine silk merchant. But new evidence suggests it was actually inspired by Gian Giacomo Caprotti, Da Vinci’s longtime male lover and muse.

Caprotti began working with the Renaissance master when he was a child and became a trusted companion and researcher. Silvano Vincenti of the National Committee for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage believes that Caprotti may have been the face behind not just the Mona Lisa, but several paintings of St. John the Baptist and a lesser-known drawing called “Angel Incarnate.”

All portray a slim, effeminate youth with curly hair and Vincenti found striking similarities between the mouths and noses of each work. Despite some cryptic clues – including tiny numbers painted into Mona Lisa’s eyes that are not visible to the human eye – the mystery may never be solved, since the painting is unsigned and undated and has no clues as to the sitter’s name.

Another clue might be Caprotti's nickname, Salai. Vincenti said microscopic analysis found a tiny S (for Salai) and an L (for Leonardo) in Mona Lisa’s eyes. Slate reported that experts at Paris’ Louvre museum were quick to dismiss Vincenti’s claims, though, saying earlier tests showed no inscriptions or numbers and that tiny cracks in the painting have often been “the subject of overinterpretation.”

Theories have varied wildly for centuries, from various Florentine ladies of the night to Da Vinci’s mother, random courtesans and even the artist himself. But a boyfriend? Now that’s a new one.

Do you believe the Mona Lisa depicts Leonardo’s gay lover?

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Top Opinion

  • Anna E 2011/02/04 22:08:19
    Anna E
    SH News writer is an idiot. We need another reply.
    I doubt we'll ever know for sure. Speculation abounds.

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  • ☺♥.•°Bəth°•.☻ 2011/02/06 16:41:45 (edited)
    We will never know for sure. I like to think that both, males and females, influenced that painting, not just one female or only one male. Plus he took years to paint it so it probably kept changing as well as the painting's models/inspirations.
  • wombat 2011/02/06 16:36:14 (edited)
    No its not a gay thing for invisible beings sake.
  • Vive le Canada Libre!!! 2011/02/06 16:30:29
    Vive le Canada Libre!!!
    Who really knows but da Vinci himself.
  • irish 2011/02/06 16:15:58
    UI researchers last year used facial-recognition software to analyze the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile. They concluded the model was happy, with touches of disgust, fear and anger, at least as Leonardo da Vinci painted her, the Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette reported Tuesday.

    Now Professor Thomas Huang has analyzed the painting to determine its subject's likely gender and compared it with a self-portrait of da Vinci.

    Huang says facial-recognition software he and his students developed indicate a 60-40 probability the painting is of a female. And Huang says even if it is a man, it doesn't match well with Leonardo's sketch of himself.

    "Of course, nothing proves anything," said Huang, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. "At least it indicates these conjectures may not be right."

    The portrait, which da Vinci is believed to have completed in 1507, is formally entitled "Mona Lisa del Gioconda."

    Copyright 2006 by United Press International
  • Lily Blooms Eternal 2011/02/06 15:56:36
    Lily Blooms Eternal
    I doubt it. Although she's no beauty, really, and not particularly feminine in appearance.
  • BlytheSpirit~bn0 2011/02/06 15:50:53
    Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. We'll probably never know and that's okay. This isn't the first time I've heard this theory. Britain's Telegraph isn't the first to put this out there. If it's true, I rather like the idea.
  • twocrows 2011/02/06 15:42:51
    there is speculation that she was his mistress.
    and there is speculation that she is a softened self-portrait.
    I hadn't heard about her being his male lover. that's as much a possibility as anything else.
    so, who knows?

    personally, I like the idea of just keeping the mystery. that's part of the allure.
  • Yes
    Dark Demonic™ ★ The Original SodaHead Guru ★
    I think it's possible that he was a lonely man who always wanted a daughter, but never had one, so he used his awesome imagination to paint what he imagined she would look like and as she would look a little like her father it makes sense he would start off with his own image and then feminise it. :o)
  • ☺♥.•°Bə... Dark De... 2011/02/06 16:45:35
    lol. I like that 'theory' more. ;)
  • Dark De... ☺♥.•°Bə... 2011/02/06 19:26:28
    Dark Demonic™ ★ The Original SodaHead Guru ★
    Thanks. :o)
  • BryanRozells 2011/02/06 14:42:10
    Very funny.. Homosexuals painting each other? Not so likely!
  • twocrows BryanRo... 2011/02/06 15:44:36
    what the hey are you talking about? it happens all the time.
    many [not all] homosexuals are artistic. and - what is more natural than painting a portrait of someone you love?
  • Miki-chan 2011/02/06 13:05:39
    I have heard this story before from a very educated person in the arts that it was well known he was a cross dresser and there have been scientific studies done with facial recognition experts coming to the conclusion that it is in fact a self portrait of Da Vinci in womans clothing. There are in fact a total of (3) Mona Lisa paintings, painted at three different periods in his life. The one commonly known at the Louvre, one in Italy and one in the US. To date, the Louvre will not allow the 3 paintings to be compared side by side.
  • bhumika 2011/02/06 12:02:02
    she cud nt be a man!!
  • VICTORIA 2011/02/06 09:39:22
    I am positive there is no consensus on who she might be.
    And Leonardo's sexuality is apparently a surprise only to a British tabloid.

    I used to go and spend hours and hours pouring over Leonardo's notebooks- which were copied and open for reference to the public in Frick Art museum.

    I spent a few days copying the Mona Lisa in pencil. Sometimes I;d have to stop and stare- afraid to put pencil to paper for overworking it.

    The more I looked the more I drew the more in love I fell with her-

    All shadows and planes of light- not a straight or dark line in sight-

    wow, thanks for reminding me- even though it's a really really really stupid topic.
  • retiredingeorgia 2011/02/06 08:24:11 (edited)
    But, I guess old Mona could have really been from LA
  • KB 2011/02/06 06:40:09
    It is almost unanimous that she is Lisa del Giocondo.
  • kateisgod 2011/02/06 05:11:51
    only... but does it really matter?
  • ♥əmma~*In Padfoot I trust*~♥ 2011/02/06 05:05:27
    ♥əmma~*In Padfoot I trust*~♥
    Possibly. It seems to me that the Mona Lisa was not modeled after a certain person, but many that were important in Da Vinci's life.
  • Resp ♥əmma~*... 2011/02/06 08:04:29
    Her name is Mona Lisa not "Man-a LIsa"... there is your answer.
  • ♥əmma~*... Resp 2011/02/06 16:17:49
    ♥əmma~*In Padfoot I trust*~♥
    That proves nothing, hun.
  • Resp ♥əmma~*... 2011/02/07 00:10:42 (edited)
    It doesn't disprove nothing either. It is a remark.
  • onebad 2011/02/06 05:02:30
  • VICTORIA onebad 2011/02/06 09:41:32
    I know, this is a surprise?
  • siQwithaQ 2011/02/06 04:38:06
    Probs not but 1 for gay rights, 0 for homophobia...
  • Lerro DeHazel 2011/02/06 04:30:53 (edited)
    Lerro DeHazel
    No, she's pregnant . . . Look at those swollen-hands as well as the fatty-jaws near the neck. It's so obvious . .. BTW, I never did see Mona as SMILING! That is totally-totally absurd!! I have always seen her as having that "pissed, with revenge" on her mind, and displayed through her gaze . . . As if to say, "One of these days, Jack! You are going to suffer! . .. And so help me, God; it's going to be your ass! Just wait!"
  • Arty 2011/02/06 04:28:58
  • Resp Arty 2011/02/06 08:03:09
    Her smile looks like she had sex with the artist prior to the painting...
  • The Dude 2011/02/06 04:11:20
    The Dude
    Who knows and who cares! It's an amazing piece of art and history! If old Leonardo liked guys, then so be it! I mean, look at the guy, he had to take whatever he could get...
  • Your Majesty Queen Fire 2011/02/06 03:38:30
    Your Majesty Queen Fire
    I think maybe yes because back in the day everyone wanted there picture painted so we don't know who wanted there picture painted this way.
  • In vino veritas 2011/02/06 03:37:22
    In vino veritas
    Always knew there was far more to her than met the eye,she cannot be defined IMHO.
  • Kacey 2011/02/06 03:11:23
    Transvestites are people too!
  • Resp Kacey 2011/02/07 00:12:00
    They are? What type of people?
  • Tony 2011/02/06 02:47:28
    what the hell is wrong with you?
    what have you been smoking?
  • loggy 2011/02/06 02:41:59
    i didnt kno which one to choose. mona lisa could be anyone vinci was a very mysterious man who never really told his secrets but rather we try to figure them out!
  • RayWall 2011/02/06 02:38:30
    I don't think it is a woman, but what if it is? It is a lovely smile regardless of gender, and Da Vinci's love life was his own problem, not mine. Religious pervs need to get their noses out of other peoples bedrooms ;)
  • ordinaryhousewife 2011/02/06 02:30:36
    We have all been fooled before.. all things are possible!!
  • InTheCity 2011/02/06 01:58:59 (edited)
  • Diderot 2011/02/06 01:57:56
    and no. It's relative to the perspective of the person, because art is merely a reflection of reality, and can be altered, I would say that it is irrelevant to the paints really attributes. People like to gossip about the smile and wonder what it is that she is smiling about when that isn't truly the real beauty of this painting. This portrait was the first to have off center lighting, the details are extremely fine, you can even see individual hairs and woven cloth, you don't see any paint strokes and in the background there is something going on. These are all the real reasons why this painting is so famous, and so loved.
  • bigbear 2011/02/06 01:56:53
    What and who is a moan--a lisa?????

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