Expert: Da Vinci painted nude Mona Lisa

Nov. 16, 2009 at 2:59 PM

FLORENCE, Italy, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- An Italian art expert says evidence suggests Leonardo da Vinci once painted a nude version of his famous Mona Lisa.

Renzo Manetti, a Florentine art expert and da Vinci specialist, said he believes the artist created "heavenly" and "vulgar" versions of the same portrait, a practice common among other Renaissance artists inspired by Neoplatonic philosophy, ANSA reported Monday.

"Even though the (nude) painting has been lost, there are at least 10 reproductions or comparable works, painted by pupils or disciples, which enable us to reconstruct the original," Manetti wrote in his new book, "The Mona Lisa's Veil."

Manetti said a work by da Vinci's student Andrea Salai, Monna Vanna, is especially compelling as a piece inspired by the nude Mona Lisa.

The researcher said da Vinci's lost painting is believed to be in the same pose as the Mona Lisa, but on a balcony with one breast exposed.

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