Once Mona Lisa was stolen. The interest in the painting peaked after it was stolen right off the wall by Vincenzo Peruggia, a thief imitating the cleaning staff. Perugia had an especially interesting motive for stealing the ‘Mona Lisa’. Since da Vinci was an Italian artist, Perugia felt that the painting should be returned home to Italy. The painting was later returned to the Louvre where it has remained since 1913. Many people believe there’s only one Mona Lisa, the famous one at the Louvre in Paris. However, a second Mona Lisa sits in the Prado Museum in Madrid that may have been painted by da Vinci or one of his students simultaneously with the first.
In another surprising discovery, there’s a third Mona Lisa, an earlier version known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa. She’s believed to be about a decade younger in this painting than the other two. Is this painting the ‘missing link’ between da Vinci’s earlier and later styles of painting, a forgery, or the real deal?
The Isleworth Mona Lisa seems to have been painted when da Vinci was alive, but that doesn’t mean he painted it. One of his students may have created this version. Also, most of da Vinci’s paintings were done on wood. The Isleworth Mona Lisa was painted on canvas. Was da Vinci experimenting with a different technique or was there another creator? If da Vinci did produce this version, which many experts believe, then why did he paint Mona Lisa at least twice? But the Isleworth Mona Lisa is in almost perfect condition, which raises the question of whether it’s truly 500 years old.