Mona Lisa was a man, says expert

An Italian researcher, Silvano Vinceti, has an opinion about Mona Lisa: she was a he. Vinceti announced today that a male apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci was the real model for the famous painting. Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, studied under Leonardo and he was a longtime companion of his. Vinceti speculates that Caprotti may have also been a lover of Leonardo’s. After all, artists’ lovers are often times their muses.

In Vinceti’s release of this news, he makes a point to say that the portrait represents a synthesis of Leonardo’s scientific, artistic, and philosophical beliefs. Leonardo worked on this portrait for several years, at various intervals. Because of this, he was subjected to different influences and inspiration sources. The canvas is also full of hidden symbolic messages and meanings. Caprotti worked with Leonardo for more than two decades beginning in 1490. Although their relationship seems to be definitively ambiguous, many art historians agree with Vinceti and believe that Caprotti was Leonardo’s lover.

And hey, I just want to point out, the letters for the name ‘Lisa’ are found in the name ‘Salai’. Read more on this discovery at ABC. [Thanks, ABC]

Is the Mona Lisa really Da Vinci in drag?

When Marcel Duchamp put a mustache and goatee on the Mona Lisa, he might have guessed more than he knew.

Italian researchers are requesting permission to dig up Leonardo Da Vinci’s grave to prove their theory that his most famous painting is actually a self-portrait. Anthropologist Giorgio Gruppione wants to examine Da Vinci’s skull to see if it has structural similarities to the mysterious woman in the portrait. This process of facial reconstruction is usually reserved for murder victims, but could give evidence to support or refute the theory and add a new possibility for the origins of that enigmatic smile.

There’s been a great deal of discussion among historians as to Da Vinci’s sexuality. In 1476 he was brought before a judge in Florence on charges of sodomy with a male prostitute. Da Vinci claimed the young man was merely his model. They were acquitted for lack of evidence.

Da Vinci never married and claimed the act of reproduction was “disgusting”. He had a serious of close relationships with young men throughout his life but was never charged with sodomy again, perhaps because that close call in Florence taught him caution.

It’s doubtful that authorities in France, where Da Vinci is buried, will give permission to desecrate the grave of one of the world’s most famous artists just to prove he was a cross dresser, so probably we’ll just have to settle for the Transsexual Jesus.

Mona Lisa assaulted with coffee mug

A Russian woman threw an empty terra cotta mug at the most famous painting on display at the Louvre. Despite the propelling of kitchenware, the Mona Lisa was not damaged, though the mug didn’t fare as well. It shattered – a side effect of moving at a rapid speed toward a hard object that isn’t going to move.

The unusual attack triggered the alarms on the painting immediately, and police quickly took the woman away. The few cracks in the glass covering the painting did not interrupt the viewing of the painting. The unruly visitor’s name was not revealed, in accordance with museum policy.

So, where does a person go after going after the Mona Lisa with a coffee mug? You guessed it: a psychiatric ward. Paris police wouldn’t say anything else about who she is or what her beef is with Mona.

Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week (3.6.09)

Last week we announced a new partnership between Gadling and the self-styled “independent travel” specialists over at BootsnAll. Every Friday we’ll be taking a look at some of our favorite BootsnAll content from the past week, along with a few choice words about why you should check it out. Sound good? Read on below for this week’s picks…

  • Navigate South America’s “Visa Obstacles” – the idea of a South American backpacking trip has always appealed to me. Between the mostly common language of Spanish and some amazing sights, the continent seems ripe for exploring. But as BootsnAll writer Eileen Smith reports, keeping track of each country’s constantly changing visa rules can be a real pain. Never fear, Eileen lays out some easy strategies to make that pan-South American trek a bit less costly and just a bit easier.
  • Europe Disappoints? – the Mona Lisa sucks. There, I said it. Yes, it was painted by one of history’s most famous men, Leonardo da Vinci, but beyond that, it’s just a painting of a woman surrounded by hundreds of tourists and a plexiglass box for protection. Roger Wade has a couple other complaints with disappointing tourist attractions in Europe, and for the most part I agree with him. Sorry Roger, I have to disagree with you on the interior of the Sagrada Familia. What do you think? Check out his list.
  • France’s Unofficial Dress Code – some of us like to blend in with the locals when we travel, going to great lengths to dress, act and behave much like the locals would. Others couldn’t give a damn what the locals think. Whatever your stance, BootsnAll’s France guide has the low-down on what to wear in France for that next trip Think you know how to blend in? Want some tips? Check it out.
  • Caffeine Junkies, Unite! – does your morning demand you start with a cup of coffee? It can be tricky to find sometimes when you’re on the road, especially in out of the way countries where coffee is not a common drink. Writer Eileen Smith comes through with yet another great piece on how to handle your caffeine addiction on the road. Check out her piece for some tips on how to cope and remember to stay away from that weak Nescafe stuff if you can help it.
  • Building Bridges – I’ve always found bridges to be one of the most underrated landmarks in any tourist destination. They serve such a pragmatic, obvious purpose that you sometimes forget the degree of craftsmanship, ingenuity and expertise that goes into their creation. Cristina Dima is on the same page – this week she takes a look at 12 of Europe’s most beautiful bridges. Some are ancient wonders, some are modern marvels. Have a look for yourself.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned next Friday for more Gadling and BootsnAll Picks of the Week!

Delaware museum exhibits copy of famous art

The Delaware Art Museum is proud to exhibit a copy of the Mona Lisa. So, if a trip to the Louvre is not in your budget this year, consider Wilmington. You can enjoy the lovely smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s Norwegian artist Tor Egil Hansen’s masterpiece without breaking the bank. Apparently, Hansen spent five months (in 2004 and 2005) to create this knockoff, committing around 400 hours to paint what had already been painted.

So, don your Folex watch, Prado shoes and Armanee suit, and head out to the Delaware Art Museum. Or, if you’re feeling bold, wait for this newer Mona Lisa to appear alongside pirated DVDs on Manhattan’s Canal Street.

It’s announcements like this one that make the financial crisis come to life. We’re celebrating knockoffs in Wilmington.