The Mona Lisa Foundation

Selected encyclopedic references to the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’


As far back as 1951, this esteemed publication had the following entry under:






Though he does not refer to the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’ directly, , Cecil Gould, the Assistant-Keeper of the National Gallery in London, wrote this entry in the 1962 Edition:

This (the ‘Mona Lisa’) must have been painted in Florence, as Raphael sketched it and borrowed the pose in pictures of his own, dating from that time. But the documentation is unsatisfactory.

There is no reliable evidence of how the picture entered the French Royal collection and even the identification of the existing picture with Vasari’s description of Leonardo’s portrait of Mona Lisa can be questioned…


The authoritative French Encyclopedia QUID included the following entry in both its book and internet versions, identifying the earlier version of ‘Mona Lisa’ as an original portrait of Lisa del Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci. The article is headed:


Peinte par Leonard de Vinci vers 1499 – 1512 … Il y eut 2 commandes: François Ier acheta celle du Louvre, en 1517 … l’autre serait peut-être à Lausanne dans le coffre d’une banque…”

“Painted by Leonardo da Vinci around 1499 – 1512 … there were 2 commissions (i.e. versions): Francis I bought the one now in the Louvre, in 1517, … the other (the ‘Earlier Version’ of ‘Mona Lisa’) is probably in the safe of a bank in Lausanne.