Mona Lisa poses as Sophia, Wisdom
The Earlier Version of the Mona Lisa (the “Isleworth Mona Lisa”),
ca 1503-1506; detail of the background..
Last year, art experts claimed that Leonardo da Vinci completed a version of the Mona Lisa some ten years prior to that of the famous Mona Lisa painting which hangs in the Louvre in Paris.
As several scholars have noted, the enigmatic landscape of the Louvre Mona Lisa seems to illustrate Leonardo’s idea that the human body has analogous forms in nature. “Even though a man is composed of earth, water, air and fire,” Leonardo wrote, “his body resembles that of the earth; and as man has in him bones, the framework of his flesh, so the world has its rocks, the supports of the earth.” It therefore seems plausible to think that the Louvre Mona Lisa is the culmination of Leonardo’s growing interest in the symbiosis between motherhood and nature, and the idea that both stem from a common source: the mystery of creation. If this assumption is correct, then the Louvre Mona Lisa is no longer a portrait in the true sense, but rather an allegorical meditation on womanhood as the font of life, in harmony with the awesome, Genesis-like depiction of Creation around her..