Fait Diver: The Mona Lisa Game


Surely the facts are in ceaseless dispute.

“ROME – An Italian researcher says the main influence and model for the “Mona Lisa” was a male apprentice of the artist Leonardo da Vinci.
Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, worked with Leonardo for years starting in 1490. Art historian Silvano Vinceti said Wednesday that several Leonardo works, including “St. John the Baptist,” were based on Salai and that similarities with the “Mona Lisa’s” nose and mouth were evident.”


“This is one of many theories surrounding the identity of the “Mona Lisa,” ranging from a self-portrait to a Florentine merchant’s wife.
It is not the first time Salai’s name has been mentioned as a possible model. Vinceti insists there were various sources of inspiration at various stages and that the painting is full of symbolic meanings.”

I’ll say she is!


  1. willdecker February 4, 2011 4:27 am 

    A few weeks ago I was thinking about the Mona Lisa. It occurred to me that she was Salai: http://www.davincispeaks.com/images/male-leo-salai2.gif Salai, his 11 year old boy friend for whom he invented the modern bicycle: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1412/961538867_1373ae6de1.jpg

    Guess I am not the only one who thinks that huh?
    PS: I just came across Pier Paolo Pasolini and have read Roman Poems and purchased and viewed Salo: Or The 120 Days of Sodom on a BFI Blu-Ray which has Ostia with Derek Jarman as a special feature.

    Man-o-Man did Pasolini attack our fascist world, a world I fear is way too much for the protesters in Tahrir Square. So sad.

    Googling around Cairo it occurred to me that Egypt is nothing but one big tourist trap where people come thinking they will learn history. Actually what happens is they get fleeced by Mubarak pals who own the tourist industry of Egypt. Wonder what will happen in Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Algeria. I do hope they get rid of their dictators but as a friend of mine once said, “The bitch that gives birth to them is always in heat.” My heart is with the protestors. I love them but I am afraid I have been way too much like the piano player in Salo. Will wdecker2@cox.net

    PSS: Pasolini said hope was an invention of politicians: Maybe much like tourism in Egypt. W

    PSSS: Sure glad Leonardo da Vinci painted his boyfriend in this greatest of all paintings that I accidentally saw once at the National Gallery of Art in DC. W

  2. David E February 5, 2011 7:40 am 

    Egypt is a much more sophisticated country that most in the West recognize. Check out the films of the late, great Youssef Chahine — especially Alexandria Again and Forever

  3. willdecker February 7, 2011 8:51 am 

    Thank You for the Youssef Chahine idea.

  4. willdecker February 7, 2011 9:00 am 

    I just ordered: Alexandria Again and Forever.

  5. David E February 7, 2011 12:45 pm 

    You’re more than welcome. He’s a great filmmaker who really should be better known in the U.S. — not just because of his work for itself but because of what it says about Egypt.

    He discovered Omar Sharif, and Alexandria Why? made the festival circuit,and a smattering of art houses, in its day. Alas his French-Egyptain co-production Adieu Bonaparte starring Patrice Chereau as Napoleon and Michel Piccoli as a gay Egyptain who crosses his path during his great campaign of conquest never debuted here. Godard “samples” it in Film Socialisme

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