Ancient Egypt’s ‘Mona Lisa’ declared fake


Share post:

A 4,500-year-old ancient Egyptian painting on plaster, currently on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, has been declared a fake by an Italian researcher.

Ancient Egypt's 'Mona Lisa' declared fake
Ancient Egypt's 'Mona Lisa' declared fake
“Meidum Geese” by Francesco Tiradritti [Credit: Sandro Vannini]

“The Meidum Geese,” which has been compared to Leonardo DaVinci’s  “Giaconda,” commonly known as the Mona Lisa for its importance in Egyptian painting tradition, “seems to be painted over another painting, parts of which can still be seen,” Francesco Tiradritti, Professor of Egyptology at the Kore University of Enna told The Cairo Post Tuesday.

“After months of study, I came to the conclusion that there are few doubts on the falsification of the ‘Meidum Geese,’” Tiradritti said adding that its background was repainted in a blue hue of grey and that “the original had a more cream shade and it is still visible on some areas of the painting, especially on the right-top corner and at the two sides of the goose to the right.”

Tiradritti’s theory suggesting the painting is fake is based on several clues including that the species of two out of six birds portrayed on it were unlikely to have been present in Egypt.

His other clue is related to some of the portrayal’s colors which were not common in ancient Egyptian art.

Beige colors are unusual in Egyptian art, Tiraditti told previously, adding “even the shades of more common colors, like orange and red, are not even comparable with the same colors used in other fragments of painting coming from the same tomb,” Tiradritti was quoted as saying by Livescience.

Ancient Egypt's 'Mona Lisa' declared fake
Luigi Vassalli [Credit: Francesco Tiradritti]

The similarity in size of the six geese is also another clue to support the theory, said Tiradritti adding that the size of animals and people in ancient Egyptian art have often varied according to their importance.

The portrayal was discovered in 1871 in a tomb nearby Meidum Pyramid, which was built by the founder of the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Snefru (2610B.C.-2590B.C). The tomb, discovered by Italian scholar Luigi Vassalli, belonged to Snefru’s son, Nefermaat, said Tiradritti.

Tiradritti has suggested a more thorough non-invasive scan of the painting.

“It is highly likely that Vassalli has to be considered the real author of ‘the Geese,’” Tiradritti said citing that Vassalli never published a word about his discovery, “which is unusual given that he loved to talk about his discoveries in Egypt.”

The reason why Vassali may have forged the painting remains a mystery, said Tiradritti, adding that while he was examining the remains from the tomb where the painting was discovered, he noticed “a fragment of painting that Vassalli supposedly found.”

Author: Rany Mostafa | Source: The Cairo Post [April 01, 2015]



Related articles

Latest finding seals ownership of 2,000-yr-old Chinese tomb

Relics inside the main coffin in the 2,000-year-old tomb of Haihunhou (Marquis of Haihun) will likely reveal the...

Napoleonic soldiers found in mass grave starved to death

A longstanding mystery surrounding the deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon’s army found in a mass grave in...

Restoration of Iran’s royal equestrian relief nears completion

A restoration work on the equestrian relief of Hormizd II, the Sassanid king (r. 303 BC– 309), will...

How a Bronze Age rock became a ‘treasure map’ for archaeologists

A piece of rock with mysterious markings that lay largely unstudied for 4,000 years is now being hailed...

Detectorist unearths 1,150-year-old Viking board game in Lincolnshire

A metal detectorist has unearthed a Viking board game in Lincolnshire dating back to 872 AD. Mick Bott,...

More ‘Stonehenge structures’ identified in Poland

Monumental structures dating back 7,000 years and reaching over 100m in diameter, consisting of circular ditches and palisades,...

Thucydides and the plague of Athens – what it can teach us now

The coronavirus is concentrating our minds on the fragility of human existence in the face of a deadly...

Iraq Museum set to reopen doors to public soon

Lamia al-Gailani pulls a folder of crumbling letters from a battered metal cabinet – part of what she...