Did a Horny Leonardo da Vinci Paint This Nude Mona Lisa?

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The large etching has been held as part of the huge collection of Renaissance art at the Conde Museum at the palace of Chantily, north of the French capital, since 1862. It was attributed to Leonardo's studio suggesting a student produced the sketch and not Leonardo himself.

The hottie Monna Vanna, ca 1515.

Based at the Louvre in Paris, where the Mona Lisa is held, they been examining charcoal drawing Joconde Nue.

When the tests were conducted at the Louvre Museum in Paris, curators believe the sketch is "at least in part" by Leonardo.

Among the signs, according to curator Mathieu Deldicque, are the fact the drawing was made during the same period as the Mona Lisa, the paper is from the same region of Italy, and the technique is very similar to that of the Mona Lisa.

'It is nearly certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting, ' he added, hinting that it is closely connected to the Mona Lisa.

The nude charcoal portrait reflects a similar feel of the original Mona Lisa as the hands and body are nearly identical and the portraits are nearly the same size.

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"It is nearly certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting".

Louvre conservation expert Bruno Mottin said "Monna Vanna" dates back to da Vinci's lifetime at the turn of the 15th century.

The biggest clue it might not be a da Vinci original is a hatching near the top right of the portrait - it's drawn by someone using their right hand, but da Vinci painted left-handed. And now scientists and historians are trying to figure out if Leonardo da Vinci was the man who drew it.

He said that they hoped to know the identity of the artist in a few weeks, in time for an exhibition at Chantilly to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death.

The Mona Lisa is thought to have been a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a cloth merchant, and Florentine official.

About 20 paintings and drawings of a nude Mona Lisa exist in collections across the world but most have proved very hard to date.

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