The Mona Lisa Mystery

What Is The Isleworth Mona Lisa?

Two years before the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the aging artist was visited by Cardinal Luigi d’Aragona to survey his works. A diary written by the Cardinal’s secretary suggests da Vinci showcased a Mona Lisa portrait different than the one now on display in The Louvre Museum. Published in the early 1900s, this written account of a second Mona Lisa set off a storm of speculation about da Vinci’s most famous work; soon after, the so-called Isleworth Mona Lisa emerged and has remained a tantalizing mystery within the art world. Since hundreds of copies of the Mona Lisa circulate throughout the world, could the Isleworth Mona Lisa be an ingenious forgery – or an unfinished da Vinci masterpiece?

Secrets of the Dead: The Mona Lisa Mystery, airs Wednesday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).