London: Leonardo da Vinci completed a version of the Mona Lisa some ten years before the famous painting which now hangs in the Louvre in Paris, claim art experts.
The painting, known as the Isleworth Mona Lisa, is slightly larger than the famous portrait and has long been the subject of debate over its authenticity.
The not-for-profit Mona Lisa Foundation, which was set up to conduct research into the work, is now planning to put forward ``historical, comparative and scientific evidence`` that will prove once and for all that the painting is by the Italian renaissance artist, the Daily Mail reported.
Professor Alessandro Vezzosi, who has set up his own art museum in Vinci, supports the claims of the Swiss-based consortium, which owns the painting.
He will present evidence alongside Professor Carlo Pedretti of the Armand Hammer Center for Leonardo Studies at the University of California.
Hugh Blaker, an English art collector, discovered the Isleworth Mona Lisa shortly before the First World War while looking through the home of a Somerset nobleman.
He bought the painting and took it to his studio in Isleworth, London, from which it takes its name.
He in turn sold it to an American collector, Henry F Pulitzer, who in turn left it to his girlfriend.
On her death, it was bought by a consortium of unnamed individuals who have kept it in a Swiss bank vault for 40 years.
But Martin Kemp, emeritus professor of the history of art at Oxford, disputes claims that the Isleworth Mona Lisa is the work of Leonardo da Vinci.
“So much is wrong. The dress, the hair and background landscape. This one is also painted on canvas, which Leonardo rarely did,” he told The Sunday Times.
Like the majority of his works, The Mona Lisa in the Louvre is in fact painted on wood.
And while the lady in the Isleworth Mona Lisa does appear to be a younger version of the model in the more famous painting, Kemp said this did not prove the two were produced by Leonardo da Vinci.
“She might look younger but this is probably because the copyist and I believe it is a copy done a few years after the Mona Lisa, just painted it that way,” added Kemp.