Experts believe they have discovered the location of the landscape shown in the ‘Mona Lisa’.
Leonardo Da Vinci painted valleys, mountains, hills, a river and a bridge as a backdrop to his famous painting. Some art historians believe the background is an imaginary view portraying an idealised landscape, while others assert that it depicts a specific place.
Italian newspaper ‘Il Messaggero’ reported the results of research indicating that the landscape is not an idealised landscape, an Alpine landscape, or the Valdarno valley of the River Arno as has been suggested previously, but is Montefeltro in the Marche.
Two researchers, geomorphologist Olivia Nesci from the University of Urbino and artist-photographer Rosetta Borchia, have published their findings in a book ‘Codice P’ (Code P). The women claim that the landscape is Montefeltro, seen from the heights of Valmarecchia in northern Italy.
Their research asserts that Leonardo used a foreshortening technique to handle perspective known as compression to depict a vast area in a small space. They told ‘The Australian’ they had been studying the paintings of Early Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca when a patch of landscape reminded them of the Mona Lisa.
Nesci and Borchia said they then examined the ‘Mona Lisa’and identified the confluence of the two rivers in the ‘Mona Lisa’ as that of the Senatello and Marecchia rivers in the former Duchy of Urbino, a historic region that embraces Marche, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. They said that bridge shown in the painting has since been destroyed and the lake has been filled by landslides. The women claim that the hills shown by the sitter’s left shoulder are Sassi Simone and Sassi Simoncello, the mountains on the top left are the Monte Canale and Alpe della Luna, and the mountain portrayed on the right of her head is Monte Aquilone.
Nesci and Borchia are not the first to claim to have solved the mystery of the ‘Mona Lisa’ background. In 2011, art historian Carla Glori published a book ‘Enigma Leonardo’ in which she claimed that the three-arch bridge in the painting is a reference to Bobbio, a village in Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna.