What Raphael Saw

a chalk sketch

drawing by Raphael from his study in situ of the newly finished ‘Mona Lisa’ in 1504

This is Raphael’s drawing of the ‘Mona Lisa,’ executed in situ when Leonardo da Vinci’s ground-breaking portrait was displayed for artist’s to copy, in 1504.

Raphael was a faithful draftsman, so there’s no reason to believe he strayed from what he saw, and since he was privy to copying directly from the original, it’s safe to conclude his sketch is a faithful representation of the ‘Mona Lisa.’

But which version of the Mona Lisa did Raphael see? Did Leonardo paint two portraits of women named Lisa in the same pose?

Second Lisa, my biography of the true ‘Mona Lisa,’ reveals why I believe there were two ‘Lisas’: Lisa Giocondo (the wife of a silk merchant – a client of Leonardo’s lawyer, father) and Leonardo’s half-sister, Lisabetta.

No wonder there has been speculation that the ‘Mona Lisa’ is a self-portrait of the artist. Brother and sister looked alike. I go a step further in my fantasy novel and declare them twins born six years apart.

Raphael’s copy shows a younger woman wearing a different dress and has the model framed by two pillars- a distinct contradiction to the Louvre’s ‘Mona Lisa.’

Later, Raphael used Leonardo’s innovative three-quarter pose for his own paintings.

Raphael's Lisa?

Raphael’s Lisa?

My next blog will reveal a second example of Leonardo painting double.

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About Veronica Knox

Veronica Knox has a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Alberta, where she studied Art History, Classical Studies, and Painting. In her career as a graphic designer, illustrator, private art teacher, and ‘fine artist,’ she has also worked with the brain-injured and autistic, developing new theories of hand-to-eye-to-mind connection. Veronica lives on the west coast of Canada, supporting local animal rescue shelters, painting, writing, editing other author’s novels, and championing the conservation of tigers and elephants, and their habitats. Her artwork and visuals to support ‘Second Lisa’ may be viewed on her website - www.veronicaknox.com
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