The mystery of Mona Lisa has haunted humanity for centuries. Some believe her to be a lady of noble stock; others speculated her to be Da Vinci’s secret lover yet the mystery remained unresolved.
However recently an Italian historian has come up with a new theory of Mona Lisa being a Chinese slave and Leonardo da Vinci’s mother — making the 15th-century polymath half-Chinese.
Angelo Paratico, a Hong Kong-based historian and novelist from Italy is reported to have said, “On the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese” (maybe something to cheer up his fellow Hong Kongians).
Chinese web users have expressed astonishment and disbelief, posting dozens of parodies of the painting, with faces from Chinese comedians to British actor Rowan Atkinson grafted over her delicate features.
Little is known about Caterina, the mother of the artist, writer, mathematician and inventor, and the identity of the sitter for the portrait hanging in Paris’ Louvre museum has long been a matter of debate.
Paratico, who is finishing a book entitled Leonardo da Vinci: a Chinese scholar lost in Renaissance Italy, cited Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud’s 1910 assumption that the painting was inspired by the artist’s mother.
“One wealthy client of Leonardo’s father had a slave called Caterina. After 1452, Leonardo’s date of birth, she disappeared from the documents,” he told the paper.
The evidence for a Chinese connection appears to be slight, with Paratico saying he was sure “up to a point” that da Vinci’s mother was from the Orient. “To make her an oriental Chinese, we need to use a deductive method,” he added.
“I’m so sad that you thought I’m a foreigner!” wrote one, with an image of a frowning Mona Lisa holding two rolls of toilet paper and blowing her nose. “I’d rather be from wherever I am loved.”
Another user replaced her features with unlikely faces ranging from Chinese male comedian Zhao Benshan to British actor Rowan Atkinson, to a grimacing robot holding a Mona Lisa mask.
“I now understand why her smile looks so mysterious and concealed — it’s typically Chinese,” said another poster.
Nobody can say for sure what Mona Lisa’s real identity was. For there is as much chance she could have been an Indian or even an Arab and the landscape could resemble India or Arabia too (Mr. Paratico is entitled to his opinion). There is nothing China specific in the landscape. So with all likelihood is she was an oriental lady she could have been Mona Lisa Butt (an oriental Kashmiri).