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The topic of attribution and authentication of art works is a well-known one and is currently the subject of heated debate. To arrive at a univocal scientific truth, however, it is necessary to integrate historical- humanistic and technical-experimental skills with a subjective and objective evaluation. The first part of the volume deals with experimentation relating to three valuable artifacts of different material composition: a painting, a sculpture, a codex. The second part of the research regards the emblematic case of the Mona Lisa and its uniqueness. The question connected to this study is: "Is there a second Mona Lisa?" Is the Isleworth Mona Lisa, also known as the Earlier Mona Lisa, a second version of the Louvre Mona Lisa painted by the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci? In order to provide an answer regarding attribution, a methodological path was applied to the painting on canvas "Mona Lisa with columns" (St. Petersburg), establishing that it was a copy, albeit a well-executed one. Numerous versions and copies of the Mona Lisa were also studied, basing their examination on the in-depth archival-bibliographic research of the many paintings on the same subject. The findings highlighted the distinction between two authentic versions by Leonardo, i.e. the Louvre Mona Lisa and the Isleworth Mona Lisa and two copies, i.e. the Prado and the Reynolds Mona Lisas. The latter two, considered to be the most complete and qualitatively better that many others are, in fact, either copies of previous Mona Lisas or of the two authentic versions. The final considerations are dedicated to the chronological sequence of historical sources, stylistic and aesthetic analyses, artistic techniques and experimental investigations to prove the authentication of the Isleworth Mona Lisa by Leonardo.
Salvatore Lorusso is a former full Professor of the University of Bologna. He is a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences; Emeritus Professor of the Cultural Heritage Institute of Zhejiang University, China; former Visiting Professor of the Academy of Social Science of Zhejiang University, China; Visiting Professor of the Faculty of Arts, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia; former Vice-president and now, a Councilor of the Società Italiana per il Progresso delle Scienze (SIPS-established in 1839). Direttore Generale of the Accademia della Cultura Enogastronomica. His biography appears in the 2016 Marquis Edition of Who’s Who in the World. He is the founder and director of two book series relating to the specific issues pertaining to the sector of cultural and environmental heritage. He is the author of over 430 publications in national and international journals and of 22 volumes and monographs covering commodity science, cultural heritage and environment. In 1997, he founded the Diagnostic Laboratory for Cultural Heritage at the Ravenna Campus of the University of Bologna and remained head of the Laboratory for eighteen years. In 2001, he founded and is Editor-in-Chief of the historical-technical Journal "Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage". His scientific work deals mainly with the study of the “system-artifact-environment-biota” and diagnostic, analytical, technical and economic evaluation within the context of the protection and valorization of cultural and environmental heritage.
Andrea Natali carries out research, teaching and consulting activities in the field of “Conservation of Cultural Heritage”. He graduated in “Conservation of cultural heritage” at the University of Tuscia; he has received two research grants from the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Bologna; has a Master in “Community Narrators” from the University of Tuscia (Viterbo). He is the owner of the company, Andrea Natali “Conservazione Beni Culturali”. He has carried out teaching activities in University Courses and Masters and done research in the fields of conservation, restoration, artistic diagnostics, authentication of works of art, management and enhancement of cultural and landscape heritage, planning and promotion of artistic and cultural events. He is a mediator / conciliator and expert of the Arbitration Chamber for public contracts with ANAC (Anti-corruption Authority). He is the author and co-author of over 60 publications in the field of conservation and valorization of cultural and landscape heritage. He has been a speaker at over 60 national and international conventions and conferences.
Jean-Pierre Isbouts is an art historian and a doctoral professor at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA. He is the author of nine National Geographic books, including The Biblical World, In the Footsteps of Jesus, and The Story of Christianity which have sold 2 million copies. Together with Christopher Heath Brown, he is the coauthor of three books on Leonardo da Vinci: The Da Vinci Legacy, The Mona Lisa Myth, and Young Leonardo. He has been on numerous radio and TV shows and is the host of the TV series The Search of Masterpieces. He has also directed several programs on history and art for Disney, ABC, Public Television and the History Channel. Dr. Isbouts lives in Santa Monica, CA.
John Asmus is a Research Physicist at the University of California, San Diego, USA. Since 1973 John Asmus has been a Research Physicist with the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his PhD from the California Institute of Technology (Physics and Quantum Electronics) and is a cofounder of the Center for Art/Science Studies at UCSD. Prior to 1973 he held positions with The US Naval Ordnance Laboratory, General Atomic, The Institute for Defense Analyses, and SAIC International (VP and Bd. Mbr.) In 1990 he was awarded the Rolex Laureate for Enterprise (Xi’an Terra Cotta Warriors) and became a Fellow of the Explorers Club. He has published more than 140 articles in professional journals and holds 25 patents in the fields of astrophysics, high-energy plasma physics, high-energy lasers, and laser applications. During the past forty eight years he has performed pioneering research in the use of holography, lasers, ultrasonics, inside-out (X-ray and NMR) imaging, and digital image processing in art conservation. He has applied these tools to the problems of divestment, analysis, interpretation, and presentation associated with diverse art conservation activities. He has also been instrumental in the founding of professional art conservation and laser societies. He is a member of UNESCO and EU conservation commissions on World Heritage Sites and the Parthenon, respectively.
Vadim Parfenov is a Professor at St.Petersburg Electrotechnical University, Russia. He graduated from St.Petersburg Polytechnic University in 1985. He received his PhD degree in 2002 (speciality – “Quantum electronics”) and degree of Doctor of Technical Sciences (habil. of PhD; speciality – “Optics”) in 2018. He has worked on research areas of diverse and cross-disciplinary interest, ranging from laser material processing to studies on phase conjugation, non-linear and adaptive optics, interferometry and holography. For the last 16 years he has been involved in research and practical work on the use of lasers and opto-electronic techniques in cultural heritage preservation. He has pioneered the practical use of laser cleaning in art conservation in St. Petersburg city, where he has been involved in numerous collaborative projects with leading museums. He has organized and co-chaired several conferences and workshops such as: “Light for Artworks conservation” (2006, 2010 and 2012, St.Petersburg) and “Laser Cleaning and Artworks Conservation” (2007, 2013 and 2016, St. Petersburg). In 2005-2006 he was a member of the Management Committee of the European Union COST Action G7 “Artwork Conservation by Laser”, and from 2014 he has been a member of the Permanent Scientific Committee of LACONA (Lasers for Artwork Conservation). He is the author and co-author of more than 100 articles and several books.
Table of Contents
Attribution and authentication of art works
Attribution and authentication
Copies and versions of the Mona Lisa (Gioconda)
Analytical-diagnostic study of the painting Mona Lisa with columns
A comparison of the copies and versions
Why did Leonardo paint the Mona Lisa?
Comparative analysis of Mona Lisa portraits by means of image processing
Why and whether a reproduced work of art should be vetted rather than vetoed
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