The world has a second Mona Lisa painting by da Vinci to ooh and aah over, says a Swiss art group. The Mona Lisa Foundation asserted today that years of historical and scientific research proves that the artist painted two portraits of Lisa del Giocondo at different ages, about 10 years apart, reports the BBC. The older one is hanging in the Louvre. The younger one, known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa, has been the subject of debate for decades—is it a skillful copy or a separate, authentic painting?
"We have investigated this painting from every relevant angle and the accumulated information all points to it being an earlier version of the (Mona Lisa) in the Louvre," says the foundation. (The group's website and related video is here, and it also has a new book on the subject, notes the Los Angeles Times.) The painting is owned by an anonymous consortium, so it's unclear who, if anyone, would profit from the designation—assuming it holds up. There's "no basis for thinking that there was an earlier portrait," says one skeptical Oxford professor.