An artist claims to have cracked a 500-year-old mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa – by spotting a series of zoo animals hidden in the painting. Ron Piccirillo believes it is possible to see the heads of a lion, an ape and a buffalo floating in the air around the subject’s head along with a crocodile or snake coming out of the left hand side of her body.
The amateur oil painter and graphic designer based in New York says he followed a series of instructions set out by the artist Leonardo da Vinci to decipher the image and claims his discovery cracks open the meaning of the work, painted in 1519. That the Mona Lisa is actually a representation of envy.
Mr. Piccirillo claims to have found similar hidden images in works by other Renaissance painters such as Titian and Rafael. It was when he turned the painting on its side that he first noticed the lion’s head. He also said he had found either a crocodile or snake by following the instructions of da Vinci’s journals.
“This is the key to understanding how Leonardo and many other Renaissance artists hid subjects in their artwork. If you know to look for them, they are there,” Piccirillo says. “It’s not every day you spot something that has gone unnoticed for 500 years.”