An Italian art historian claims to have solved the mystery of the exact location of the landscape which provides the background to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece Mona Lisa.
Carla Glori believes that a hidden clue in the famous artwork identifies the exact location of the landscape.
According to her, a three-arched bridge which appears over the left shoulder of the woman with the enigmatic smile is a reference to Bobbio, a village which lies in rugged hill country south of Piacenza, in northern Italy.
Her theory is based on the recent discovery by another art historian, Silvano Vinceti, of the numbers 7 and 2 artfully concealed in the span of the stone bridge, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.
Glori believes the numerals are a reference to 1472, the year in which a devastating flood destroyed Bobbio’s bridge. Historical records show that the bridge, known as the Ponte Gobbo or Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge), was swept away when the River Trebbia burst its banks that year.
“Leonardo added in the number 72 beneath the bridge to record the devastating flood of the River Trebbia and to allow it to be identified,” said Glori, who sets out the theory in a new book, ‘The Leonardo Enigma’
Leonardo was born in the town of Vinci in Tuscany but travelled extensively in Italy during his lifetime and worked in Venice, Rome and Bologna.
The artist started painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, but did not finish it until years later, after he had moved to France to work under the patronage of King Francois I.
The painting was kept in the Palace of Versailles until it was moved to the Louvre Museum in Paris, and remains the property of the French state.