Paging Dan Brown. After 35 years of research, a Swiss group is presenting what they say to be is an original version of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece. All kidding aside, the Mona Lisa Foundation, a Zurich-based foundation, is in Geneva presenting the "Isleworth Mona Lisa"—a painting they say predates da Vinci's Mona Lisa by about 12 years (around 1505) which was first found in 1913 and is supposedly Mona Lisa in her 20s. "So far, not one scientific test has been able to disprove that the painting is by Leonardo," said art historian Stanley Feldman, a foundation member in report by the AP. "We have investigated this painting from every relevant angle and the accumulated information all points to it being an earlier version of the Giaconda in the Louvre," Feldman told Reuters.
The presentation today has become a battle of da Vinci experts. In the foundation's corner, they have the backing of leading Italian Leonardo specialist Alessandro Vezzosi, and the U.S.-based expert Carlo Pedretti, reports Reuters, which adds that Oxford University professor and Leonardo authority Martin Kemp is totally against the painting--pointing to the fact that the portrait is painted on canvas while anyone who's a Leonardo expert would know that da Vinci's favorite medium is wood.
Feldman of course is having no part of it, and explains that because of the precise similarity between the two paintings, it had to be Leonardo, who apparently paints the same way every time (or a meticulous copycat):
"When we do a very elementary mathematical test, we have discovered that all of the elements of the two bodies — the two people, the two sitters — are in exactly the same place," Feldman told The Associated Press by phone. "It strikes us that in order for that to be so accurate, so meticulously exact, only the person who did one did the other ... It's an extraordinary revelation in itself, and we think it's valid."