[NetBehaviour] Is the Mona Lisa pointing?

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 7 00:01:38 CET 2020

Hi all,

This simple question has not been asked in the Leonardo scholarship, so far as I can tell.

In several paintings by Leonardo, one or more figures are clearly pointing (the Last Supper, the Louvre Madonna of the Rocks, St. John the Baptist).  In still others are hand gestures directed either at a person or upward (the London Madonna of the Rocks, the Salvator Mundi, the Annunciation, the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne).  In several works, figures are making gestures similar to pointing (the Baptism of Christ, the Musician, the Madonna of the Yarnwinder, Lady with an Ermine).  The very late drawing A Woman Standing in a Landscape is certainly pointing.

Is it possible that the Mona Lisa too is pointing?  The gesture of her right hand is very similar to that in the Portrait of Isabelle d'Este, so it may have been chosen thoughtfully by Leonardo.  Moreover, along with the addition of a bridge in the landscape, the hand positions were modified by Leonardo very late in the creation of the Mona Lisa.

Leonardo scholarship has not addressed whether the ML is pointing, so the hypothesis remains speculative.

If she is pointing, what might she be pointing at, and why?

All best regards and wishes,



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