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article imageProfessor uncovers hidden literary references in the Mona Lisa

By Adeline Yuboco     Jan 7, 2011 in Entertainment
Kingston - A professor in Queen's University believes that Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was a product of a practice used by Renaissance artists of taking a passage from literature and then incorporating it into a work of art.
In a statement made by Dr. Ross Kilpatrick—a Classics professor emeritus at the said university—he mentioned that the masterpiece was inspired by both the Roman poet Horace and Florentine poet Petrarch. He believes that Leonardo used an art technique called 'invention' commonly practiced by artists during the Renaissance. Artists using this technique take a part or an entire piece of popular literature. This is then incorporated into the artwork being created.
According to Dr. Kilpatrick, the use of this technique may explain the composition of the Mona Lisa painting, where a beautiful woman sitting on a balcony is given a vast and barren background. The ScienceDaily reports:
Dr. Kilpatrick believes Leonardo is alluding to Horace's Ode 1. 22 (Integer vitae) and two sonnets by Petrarch (Canzoniere CXLV, CLIX). Like the Mona Lisa, those three poems celebrate a devotion to a smiling young woman, with vows to love and follow the woman anywhere in the world, from damp mountains to arid deserts. The regions mentioned by Horace and Petrarch are similar to the background of the Mona Lisa.
Dr. Kilpatrick pointed out that Leonardo may have been familiar with the works of the two poets. The bridge seen at the background of the famous painting resembles the bridge that can be found in Petrarch's hometown of Arezzo. Also, the Mona Lisa was painted at a time when literature written by great individuals were common knowledge as it was often quoted, referenced and celebrated.
In addition to the Mona Lisa, Dr. Kilpatrick's 20 years of research at the literary references in art also resulted to the connected of Gustav Klimt's famous painting The Kiss with the mythical wedding of the Greek gods Ariadne and Dionysus.
More about Mona lisa, Leonardo vinci, Renaissance
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