It’s hard to understand how the Louvre museum can seriously be considering a drawing of a topless, leering Mona Lisa as a Da Vinci. Granted, it’s the same size as his famous painting and the paper used dates back to his time. But just because he was living then don't prove anything. Besides, doesn’t her smirk give pause? Would the inscrutable woman we know in the painting pose so smugly for him?

Was Mona a lech?

Clearly, Louvre experts haven’t read the recern book by art historians Martin Kemp and Giuseppe Pallanti – “Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting” – explaining why she wasn’t smiling in Da Vinci’s portrait.

If he didn’t paint her smiling in the painting, why would he draw her with a lecherous leer? Another question: would Da Vinci have kept the portrait commissioned by her husband for himself until the day he died if he thought of her as mocking him with a smirk? Also, if she’s the same woman one in his painting, why would he make her look like a guy with breasts? Wait, I have more questions.

Why now?

The drawing has been sitting in the Conde Museum in northern France for the last 155 years under the title Mona Vanna. Apparently, when the son of France’s last king – the Duc d’Aumale – bought the drawing for the museum collection in 1802; he believed it a Da Vinci.

In years to follow, experts came to believe that it was drawn by one of the painter’s assistants.

So why now is the Louvre hanging on to the fantasy that the painter drew Mona in the buff with a smart-ass grin? In his 2001 book “Becoming Mona Lisa: The Making of a Global Icon,” art critic Donald Sassoon may have held the answer. He said the popularity of the portrait is prompted by the constant chatter about it. Is that what the Louvre is doing?

The chattering goes on

Keeping the ball in the air, Conde Museum deputy director Mathiew Deldicque told the press that the drawing could just as well been drawn by Da Vinci as his assistants, adding, “We are sure of nothing.” And get this: he said that if the painter didn’t participate in the whole drawing, he might have done part of it.

Come on! I’m trying to envision how that could have happened. Did his assistants decide to draw Mona naked and the painter joined in the fun? Really? As if to explain the out-of-character of the work, drawing expert Patrick de Bayser said, " Very often drawings are resumed, completed, transformed."

Final arbiter

So did someone besides Da Vinci or his assistants have a hand in the drawing? Will this mystery ever be solved? Louvre conservator Bruno Mottin offered a good reason to disbelieve the painter’s hand in the drawing. He said that the hatching marks by the head were made by someone right-handed. Guess who drew with his left hand?

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