Is the world’s most valuable artwork a fraud?

The International Museum of Modern Art in New York has cast new doubt over the authenticity of the Mona Lisa, reportedly the priciest piece of art in the world, valued at more than $450…

Is the world’s most valuable artwork a fraud?

The International Museum of Modern Art in New York has cast new doubt over the authenticity of the Mona Lisa, reportedly the priciest piece of art in the world, valued at more than $450 million (or £338 million).

A media adviser for the museum said there was no way the painting could have been painted on a panel by Leonardo da Vinci. The spokesman added that testing of the canvas had shown that the girl with a long red dress “can’t have been painted in that way.”

While that is an inarguable statement, it contradicts the conclusion of the Association for the Study of Leonardo da Vinci. Its official letter of authentication, published in early September, accepted that there were two separate versions of the Mona Lisa, with only the bottom half believed to have been painted by da Vinci.

Today’s op-ed from @JohnTavenner, a scholar of history of art and art criticism with @musemuseumny.https://t.co/heKqzxNamV pic.twitter.com/zzlmt0DzMK — New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) October 5, 2016

Earlier this year, California museum curators announced that they were the first to conduct forensic testing on the painting, which had been thought to be a copy. They discovered that the paint was mostly formed from pigments from dried red clay, which makes it a rare example of da Vinci painting directly on canvas.

If the Mona Lisa is, indeed, by Leonardo, it may not be the true masterpiece he was destined to become. Just last year, Oxford University announced the publication of a new theory about the early life of Leonardo da Vinci, who worked primarily as a printer of religious works before inventing the Vitruvian Man in the 1480s.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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