The Italian Almanac

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naked Mona Lisa

The Naked Mona Lisa

A 16th-century painting of a nude Mona Lisa once attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci will go on show for the first time as part of a sweeping new exhibition opening near Florence. Over 5,000 works inspired by the original Mona Lisa including paintings, sculptures, etchings and new media images spanning five centuries will be on display at the Museo Ideale in Leonardo`s hometown of Vinci for the show, the largest ever held on the mysterious muse.

Experts have succeeded in establishing that the nude Mona Lisa once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte`s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch (1763-1839) - a major collector who also owned Leonardo`s painting of St Jerome now in the Vatican Museums. Another nude will also go on show but investigations into its history are continuing.

Curated by Agnese Sabato and Alessandro Vezzosi under the supervision of the world`s top Leonardo expert Carlo Pedretti, the exhibition will also reveal the latest spectacular scientific data from experts researching the original Mona Lisa housed in the Louvre in Paris. The show is divided into two sections. The first explores the history of the Mona Lisa, including dating problems and the identity of the smiling model, but also displays sculptures and etchings inspired by the painting from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

The second section is dedicated to so-called Leonardismo and highlights how the Mona Lisa became an icon in literature, graphic design and on the internet.