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Geologist Solves One of the Mysteries of Leonardo's Mona Lisa

Ann Pizzorusso calls herself a “cultural geologist.” She has a degree in geology and Renaissance studies and tries to use her expertise in both science and art to solve problems. In 2014 she was called in to analyze both versions of Leonardo’s Virgin in the Rocks (where she stated that the plants in the Paris version are botanically accurate and consistent with plants growing in a dark, moist grotto, but the vegetation in the London version could never have been done by the meticulous Leonardo). Now in 2024 she seems to have made a discovery about the landscape in the background of Leonardo’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa painted in 1506, according to [The Guardian].(

The Mona Lisa is considered the most recognized and most visited painting in the world, but the smoky (sfumato) landscape has inspired almost as much speculation as her famous smile. Some art historians have said that the landscape is imaginary and others have pointed to the bridge on the right of the painting and suggested that it is the bridge south of Milan, or possibly another bridge south of Florence. Ms Pizzorusso, however, said that everyone is looking at the bridge, but nobody is looking at the geology!

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