ROME -- A male apprentice, longtime associate and achievable lover of Leonardo da Vinci seemed to be the principal influence along with a model for the "Mona Lisa" painting, an Italian researcher said.
But the researcher, Silvano Vinceti, said Wednesday the portrait also signifies a synthesis of Leonardo's scientific, artistic and philosophical values. Simply because the artist labored on it at various intervals for several years, he was put through to distinct influences and sources of inspiration, as well as the canvas is stuffed with hidden symbolic connotations.

"The particular 'Mona Lisa' ought to be read at numerous levels, not just as a face," Vinceti said.

This really is 1 of several theories which may have circulated over the years about the individuality of "Mona Lisa" and also the meaning for her famously enigmatic smile. Others have mentioned the painting was a self-portrait in disguise, or the depiction of a Florentine merchant's wife - the latter drawing a consensus between scholars.

The world-famous symbol is on show at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The apprentice Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, worked with Leonardo for far more than two decades starting in 1490. Vinceti described their bond as "ambiguous," and many art historians agree with the fact Salai was a Leonardo lover.

Numerous Leonardo works, including "St. John the Baptist" and a lesser-known drawing called "Angel Incarnate," were based on Salai, Vinceti explained to a news conference at the Foreign Press Association. These types of paintings show a slim, effeminate young man with long auburn curls.

Vinceti said similarities with the "Mona Lisa's" nose and mouth are stunning.

"Salai was really a favorite mannequin for Leonardo," he said. "Leonardo undoubtedly inserted characteristics of Salai inside the last variant of the Mona Lisa."

It was not the initial moment that Salai's identity has been linked with the "Mona Lisa," although some historians expressed skepticism. Pietro Marani, art historian and Leonardo expert, known as the theory "groundless."

Vinceti said additional influences may possibly have affected Leonardo. He doesn't rule out that Lisa Gherardini, better half of Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, might have provided an early ideas.

Similarly, Vinceti said additional inspiration may well came from noblewoman Beatrice D'Este, who had been wedded to Ludovico Sforza, the duke of Milan at whose court Leonardo worked inside the late 15th century. Vinceti declared Leonardo usually would certainly see the woman whilst he was painting "The Last Supper" for the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, where she went to pray.

Traditionally, art historians say Leonardo began panting the "Mona Lisa" in 1503, when he was back from that Milan stay. But Vinceti says he may well have started in the late 1490s in Milan.

Vinceti, a media-savvy journalist and creative art specialist, made his identity when he was quoted saying he'd found Caravaggio's long-lost bones last year. He mixes state-of-the-art, CSI-like techniques with old-fashioned library analysis.

Studying high-definition scanned images of the "Mona Lisa," Vinceti claimed in recent weeks to have found the letters "S'' and "L'' within the model's eyes, as well as the number "72" beneath the arched bridge within the backdrop of the piece of art.

He attaches many symbolic meanings to these letters: the "S'' aimed him to Salai as well as the Sforza empire that dominated Milan, whilst the "L'' is a reference to the artist himself and Lisa Gherardini.

Marani, the Leonardo specialist, said at least 3 historical records prove that Gherardini was the first model. He said you'll find no known paintings of Salai, even though he conceded it had been entirely possible that the young apprentice may function as a model for some other Leonardo works such as "St. John the Baptist."

But he warned against reading too significantly into possible similarities between subjects.

"All Leonardo subjects look like every other because he represents an abstract perfect of beauty. For that reason they all have this dual characteristic of masculine and feminine," said Marani, an art professor at Milan's Politecnico university.

"The work began as the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, but over the years in Leonardo's hands it slowly turned into some thing else: an idealized portrait, not a specific 1," Marani said. "That's also why you have this fascinating face that transcends time and transcends a particular person, and why all these theories maintain piling up." 

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