La Gioconda, Leonardo da Vinci's atelier, ca.1503-16.
Oil on walnut panel
February 22, 2012, source: Prado Museum
The Prado Museum in Madrid presented the methods and results of the technical study and restoration that the Museum has recently carried out on its copy of La Gioconda.
In a press release, the Museum explains that "One of the most important discoveries arising from these analyses, and which again supports the conclusions of the present study - undertaken with the aim of determining how the work was painted and its state of preservation – was the fact that the Prado version is painted on a walnut panel. This wood is used for other small-format panels by Leonardo and his studio, including The Lady with the Ermine, La Belle Ferronière and Saint John the Baptist".
"The results of this study" -the press release continues- "thus point to a member of Leonardo’s studio and to the fact that the two works were painted in parallel. With regard to a possible attribution, the pictorial style is not comparable to those of pupils or followers of Leonardo such as Boltraffio, Marco d’Oggiono or Ambrogio de Predis, who had very defined artistic personalities. However, the work can be stylistically located in a Milanese context close to Salaï (1480-1524) or possibly Francesco Melzi (1493-1572/73), who were Leonardo’s most trusted pupils and who inherited his work (...) In addition, the extremely high quality of the materials used in the creation of the Madrid version suggests that it was an important commission, unlike other known copies of La Gioconda".
The work was formerly in the Spanish royal collection although it is not known when or how it arrived. The painting has been the subject of a technical study and restoration process that was requested two years ago by the Louvre in relation to the inclusion of the painting in the exhibition opening at that museum this March entitled L’ultime chef-d’oeuvre de Léonard de Vinci, la Sainte Anne (29 March to 25 June 2012).