The places depicted in the world's most famous painting: Leonardo da Vinci's La Gioconda The extenuating research conducted by two landscape-hunters, whose findings will provide food for thought for scholars, critics and readers.
For more than 500 years, art historians have been trying to put the landscapes which inspired Renaissance painters like Piero della Francesca, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci into their geographical context. Whereas most of them concluded that the landscapes were probably imaginary, two of the landscape-hunters: Rosetta Borchia, painter and photographer, and Olivia Nesci geomorphologist and lecturer at the University of Urbino, claim to have found them in real, tangible places, hidden among the hills of Montefeltro, between Le Marche, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Those cliffs, those hills, those rivers were there for all to see and yet nobody saw them. The atlas aims to demonstrate the discovery of the landscape-hunters through illustrations which show enlargements of the world’s most famous painting and photographs of the landscape. The two hunters show us methodically how Leonardo used a complex code through which he sometimes compressed and, at others, expanded the morphology of the real landscape for his paintings. Thanks to modern technologies, methodology, employed here for the first time to analyze ‘places of art’, constitutes an innovative sector of geomorphologic cultural and archaeological research and provides the scientific basis for future investigations which need not be limited to the area of the Montefeltros.