Lot 171
  • 171


80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Mona Lisa
  • oil on canvas, unframed
  • 29 by 21 in.; 73.5 by 53.3 cm. 


Said to have descended in the noble Pistoj family for more than 260 years;
With Dr. Umberto Gianesi, Galleria Fiorentina d'Arte, Florence, by the mid-twentieth century;
From whom acquired by a private collector, Venezuela, 1959;
Thence by descent in the family.

Catalogue Note

This image, among the most recognizable in the world, finds its source in Leonardo da Vinci's iconic portrait in the Louvre, The Mona Lisa, thought to depict Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the Florentine silk merchant Francesco Giocondo.1  That original, painted on a poplar panel, was a mature work by Leonardo that represented the culmination of his artistic achievements.  It went with him to France around 1517 and likely entered the collection of François I soon after.  In the centuries to follow, while it was in the Royal Collection, many replicas of that painting were made.  The present canvas—which preserves the captivating impression, the soft atmospheric haze, and the enigmatic smile of Leonardo’s model—is of a high-quality and was likely painted during the seventeenth century.  Although the modern-day fame surrounding the Mona Lisa today did not arise until the twentieth century, the painting long served as an illustrious model of the Renaissance ideal from a very early age.  The numerous copies made after it are a testament to its timeless appeal.  Some of the earliest known copies include the panel in the Prado museum, which is thought to have arisen in Leonardo's workshop. Some copies, like the version in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, record the vestigial columns that were removed from the original composition at an early stage.3  Another example can be found in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.4

A note on the provenance

It is believed that this work hails from the collection of the Pistoj family, an old aristocratic family from the city of Pistoia that dates back to the fourteenth century.  From their noble lineage arose a number of prominent intellectuals, diplomats, civic officials, military officers, and magistrates, and they remained preeminent in Tuscany well into the 19th century.  It is said that the present work remained in that family for over 260 years until the passing of the last descendant.  

1. Oil on poplar panel, 77 by 53 cm., inv. no. 779.

2. Oil on walnut panel, 76.3 by 57 cm., inv. no. P000504. 

3. Oil on canvas, 79.3 by 63.5 cm., inv. no. 37.1158.

4. Oil on poplar panel, 82 by 56.5 cm., inv. no. WAG2785.