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The first Mona Lisa

Researchers looking into the provenance of a painting dubbed the “Early Mona Lisa” reported recently that they had identified an English noble who probably bought it in Italy in the late 18th century and a country house where it was found in 1911.
The revelations were made as the work went on show for the first time in Singapore in a display about the portrait and Leonardo da Vinci, who a Swiss foundation holding it argues painted it before the version in the Paris Louvre.
The painting shows a younger Lisa del Giacondo, a Florentine merchant's wife who is the subject of the masterpiece in the Louvre which entered the collection of the French royal family when Leonardo died in France in 1519.
Blaker, who owned the painting for many years and made several unsuccessful efforts to have it authenticated, never identified the house or the then-owners, although his diaries of the key years have gone missing.
The researchers say Blaker's brief references to the house where he found the work indicate that it was Montacute, whose owners by 1911 had fallen on hard times and had begun to sell their possessions secretly.

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