Leonardo da Vinci may have done nude sketch of Monna Vanna

Leonardo da Vinci may have done nude sketch of Monna Vanna

Italy,Sept29:Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the great painters of the Italian Renaissance, and his Mona Lisa oil painting (also known as La Gioconda) remains one of the world’s most recognisable and valuable works of art.

The charcoal portrait of a nude woman, known as the Monna Vanna, was previously attributed only to Leonardo da Vinci’s studio.

A charcoal drawing housed in another art collection for more than 150 years may have been a sketch for the Mona Lisa, a French art expert says.

But experts have found enough clues to suggest the artist worked on both.

After tests at the Louvre Museum in Paris, curators believe the sketch is “at least in part” by Leonardo.

It has been held since 1862 in the collection of Renaissance art at the Conde Museum at the Palace of Chantilly, north of the French capital.

It is believed to have been a commission from cloth merchant and Florentine official Francesco del Giocondo for a portrait of his wife, Lisa Gherardini.

Her enigmatic smile has baffled art lovers for centuries – but now the mystery of the Mona Lisa seems to have finally been solved.

Historical experts believe they have found the tomb of Leonardo’s model buried under the altar of a derelict Florence convent.

Carbon testing on the bones of three women exhumed in Florence’s Sant’Orsola convent have been dated to the time of death of Italian noblewoman Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo.

Most historians now agree that Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, a noblewoman who was the third wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was the sitter for the Renaissance masterpiece.

“The drawing has a quality in the way the face and hands are rendered that is truly remarkable,” curator Mathieu Deldicque told AFP news agency.

“It is not a pale copy. We are looking at something which was worked on in parallel with the Mona Lisa at the end of Leonardo’s life.

“It is almost certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting.”

Louvre conservation expert Bruno Mottin confirmed it dated from Leonardo’s lifetime, at the start of the 16th Century, and was of a “very high quality”.

The Chantilly Estate posted a photo of the work being done on the sketch.