Geologist and art historian claims to have solved this mystery about Leonardo Da Vinci’s legendary Mona Lisa

News & Politics

A mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa has reportedly been solved by a geologist and Renaissance art historian. The discovery has to do with the location that features so prominently in the background of the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Ann Pizzorusso claims she has finally discovered the Italian landscape that has been the subject of a centuries-long debate, according to the New York Post. Pizzorusso is also the author of the 2014 book, “Tweeting Da Vinci.”

According to the report, Pizzorusso claims Da Vinci depicted parts of the city of Lecco in the Mona Lisa, on the shore of Lake Como in northern Italy. She went on to suggest she located the bridge, mountain range, and the lake the features in the legendary painting’s background. She also mentioned that she spotted the Alps that overlook the area and Lake Garlate, which is located in the south of the city.

“We know from his notebooks that he spent a lot of time exploring the Lecco area and the territory further north,” Pizzorusso said.

Da Vinci was known to have visited the area — which is about 250 miles north of his home region of Florence.

“I’m so excited about this,” the art historian said. “I really feel it’s a home run.”

She said it was important for her to have an understanding of geology and art history to solve the puzzle. “Geologists don’t look at paintings and art historians don’t look at geology.”

“We know from his [Da Vinci’s] notebooks that he spent a lot of time exploring the Lecco area and the territory further north,” Pizzorusso said.

Other theories about the location has made the rounds over the years, such as a 2011 claim that a bridge and a road in the Mona Lisa were from Bobbio, a town in northern Italy, according to the Guardian.

A 2023 hypothesis claimed that Da Vinci painted a bridge located in the province of Arezzo.

But Pizzorusso said focusing on just the bridge was not enough to conclude the location.

“The arched bridge was ubiquitous throughout Italy and Europe and many looked very similar,” she said. “It is impossible to identify an exact location from a bridge alone. They all talk about the bridge and nobody talks about the geology.”

“Art historians said Leonardo always used his imagination, but you can give this picture to any geologist in the world and they’ll say what I’m saying about Lecco. Even a non-geologist can now see the similarities.”

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