"A Certain Lady from Lombardy is Painted"

The Lombardy landscape that appears in La Joconde is not exclusive to Leonardo’s painting.  A similar landscape appears in other compositions Isabella commissioned by the great artists of the high renaissance.  The lake district of Lombardy looking towards the Alps repeats in multiple masterpieces painted for Isabella.


The first of these landscapes was created at the same time as La Joconde.  While Leonardo was beginning the painting of Isabella from the sketch he had created in 1500.  Andrea Mantegna was creating a similar landscape for Isabella in The Triumph of Virtue.


Mantegna, paints the landscape in the background of the masterpiece for Isabella’s Studiolo in 1502.  He includes in the Lombardy lake district, rolling foothills, the winding Mincio River and the Alps.  On the left Mantegna paints a similar outcropping of red rock as Leonardo in La Joconde.


In 1505, Lake Garda becomes a larger focus in the composition when Lorenzo Costa paints for Isabella.   Costa creates the Allegory of the Coronation of Isabella d’Este on the shore of Lake Garda.  Nested in the Alps towering over the scene.  The lake turns into the Mincio River at the bottom of the composition.  Flowing off the canvas and down the hill to Mantua.


Niccolo da Correggio creates a similar landscape for Isabella’s Studiolo in 1530.  His painting Allegory of Virtue reveals a character pointing to the landscape in the background and with her other hand she gestures to a location on the globe.  Correggio is divulging to the viewer this locale is not fantasy.  It is a representation of an actual location on Earth.



Correggio painted for Isabella, like Costa and Mantegna before him, the homeland of their patron.  Each of these masterpieces reveals the land ruled, and clearly adored by Isabella.  Leonardo also commissioned by the great art patron, follows suit in creating an view of Lombardy for Isabella. 


However, Leonardo rarely completes anything, quite like anyone else.  Unlike Mantegna, Costa and Correggio, Leonardo, not only paints Isabella's homeland, he does it accurately.  The polymathic genius applies math to art, creating a new invention.  The mathematical capacity to envision the Earth from above, as it can now be seen through flight.