Crafted by renown renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci over roughly 16 years, the Mona Lisa remains arguably the most revered piece of artwork to date.
The enigmatic expression of the subject (which most believe is Lisa del Giocondo), along with the technique and composition, has both awed and confounded admirers from various gardens and crevices throughout the globe.
In fact, so much so, that in 1911, when the piece was successfully heisted for two years, visitors still flocked to the Louvre to stare at the vacant space where it should have sat. Such mystery surrounding da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa continues today.
Modern scholars have even attributed the portrait’s ambiguous expression to ‘high cholesterol’, while in 2010, in true ‘Da Vinci Code’ style, it was claimed tiny numbers and letters could be spotted (with the help of a magnifying glass) in the Mona Lisa’s eyes.
And most recently, the background of the painting is again the subject of controversy after art historian Carla Glori claims certain ‘clues’ within the artwork point to an exact location.
Based on a recent discovery by fellow historian Silvano Vinceti, Glori believes the numbers seven and two, concealed on the span of the bridge over the left shoulder of Mona Lisa, are a reference to the year 1472 – the year a tempestuous flood annihilated a bridge in the town of Bobbio.
Located in rugged Northern Italy, Bobbio was the location for the film ‘The Name of The Rose’. The area was also described by Ernest Hemingway as the most beautiful in the world.
While the discovery has raised an eyebrow or two, most experts believe the painting’s location was a figment of da Vinci’s imagination.
Vinceti believes the numbers are associated with Kabbalism (a form of mystical Judaism), while renown da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp thinks Leonardo created the landscape based on his “knowledge of the body of Earth”.
In any case, news of Glori’s ‘discovery’ has escalated tourist numbers in the Louvre and Bobbio, with activity in both locales growing faster than a bamboo plant in Borneo.
Claims of new clues found within the painting have risen by a purported 73%, while a rise in black market da Vinci tours (run by bankrupt locals) between Paris and Bobbio has created terrestrial mayhem – as fruit trucks, buses and motor scooters batter European villages.
Augustus Finkle, head of Bobbio Leisure and Tourism (BLT), is disgusted by the turn of events. He says Bobbio has transmogrified into a despicable hamlet of greed, as treasure hunters, pseudo priests and detectives have dug numerous tunnels, drained the river, and scoffed the town’s supply of his favourite donuts.