A quick reminder, ARPICO stands for the Society of Italian Researchers & Professionals in Western Canada and while the upcoming speaker, Jason Halter, doesn’t seem to be Italian, his topic is quintessentially so.
From a November 5, 2021 ARPICO announcement (received via email),
After an extended break since our last (virtual) public event of last April and an unusually difficult summer, for BC in general and ARPICO in particular, we are happy to announce that our activity is restarting this fall. Our next event features a very enticing lecture presenting us with a story that neatly straddles art, science, and history, around one of the most intriguing portraits of the Renaissance, if not ever, by the great Leonardo Da Vinci. Modern day Renaissance man, designer, architect, historian and lover of Italia, Prof. Jason Halter will give us an account of his role, in collaboration with experts in other fields, in the uncovering of the so-called Earlier Mona Lisa, and verifying its authenticity. …
The lecture will take place on November 18th, 2021 at 7:00PM and will be hosted virtually, as our last few events have been. We continue to use BlueJeans as our videoconferencing platform, for which you will only require a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera are all supported). Full detailed instructions on how the virtual event will unfold are available on the EventBrite listing here in the Technical Instruction section.
If participants wish to donate to ARPICO, this can be done within EventBrite; this would be greatly appreciated in order to help us continue to build upon our scholarship fund, and to defray the cost of the videoconferencing license.
The announcement goes on to provide details about the topic and the speaker,
Leonardo da Vinci’s Earlier (Isleworth) Mona Lisa:
Time Travel, Pattern Recognition, and the Scientific Method
A fascinating presentation and discussion of Da Vinci’s Earlier Mona Lisa in the context of the paper of the same title that was published in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa: New Perspectives, by Jean-Pierre Isbouts (Ed). Art historians have long debated the question why sources about the origin of the Mona Lisa portrait provide conflicting information. This monograph presents a solution for this quandary: those 16th-century sources don’t agree because they are not talking about the same painting. Jason Halter is one of a team of leading scholars and experts who have contributed to the veracity and authentication of this painting and the process has necessitated embracing technology and methods offered by science, which had not been uncovered before.
Design, Art & Architecture occupy a central position in the practice of Jason Halter & Wonder Inc. Having gained his formative experience under the tutelage of one of the world’s most important designers, Bruce Mau, Jason has won international acclaim for his innovative approach to design & art production. His unfettered curiosity & ability to realize ideas have made him intuit & manifest design solutions in new & novel ways.
As a Renaissance scholar, Halter spent several years teaching art & architecture of the late Gothic and early & late Renaissance in Florence and Rome, having held faculty positions with the University of Toronto & the University of British Columbia. He holds several degrees in history & architecture, & was awarded the prestigious Syracuse Fellowship during his post graduate work in Italy.
Halter was recently invited by the Mona Lisa Foundation, a consortium based in Zurich, Switzerland, to assist in the marketing and research for the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’, 1503, by Leonardo Da Vinci. Contributing an article entitled ‘Time Travel. Pattern Recognition & the Scientific Method’, to the recent book entitled ‘Earlier Mona Lisa – New Perspectives’, published by the Fielding Graduate University, this new scholarship has established a series of insights and theories regarding this incredibly important artwork by Da Vinci, engaging new vital scientific investigation with critical cultural expertise on the work. The book was released in April 2019, ahead of an exhibition of the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’ at Palazzo Bastogi in Florence, Italy in June of 2019, corresponding with the 500th anniversary of the passing of Leonardo da Vinci in 1519.
ARPICO offers an overview for how the night will proceed,
WHEN (EVENT): Thurs, November 18th, 2021 at 7:00PM (BlueJeans link active at 6:45PM)
WHERE: Online using the BlueJeans Conferencing platform.
The evening agenda is as follows:
6:45PM – BlueJeans Presentation link becomes active and registrants may join.
7:00pm – Start of the evening Event with introductions & lecture by Prof. Jason Halter
8:00 pm – Q & A Period via BlueJeans Chat Interface
Tickets are Needed
Tickets for this event are FREE. Due to limited seating at the venue, we ask that each household register once and watch the presentation together on a single device. You will receive the event videoconferencing invite link via email in your registration confirmation.
Where can I contact the organizer with any questions? email@example.com
Can I update my registration information? Yes. If you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am having trouble using EventBrite and cannot reserve my ticket(s). Can someone at ARPICO help me with my ticket reservation? Of course, simply send your ticket request to us at email@example.com so we help you.
I found this about the BlueJeans Conferencing platform on the ‘Leonardo da Vinci’s Earlier (Isleworth) Mona Lisa: Time Travel, Pattern Recognition, and the Scientific Method’ registration page,
The event will be managed via the videoconferencing platform BlueJeans Meetings, by clicking on the link that will be emailed to each registered individual (to the email address provided). Please, note that the event will not be active until 6:45 pm on the day of the event.
At that time, clicking on the link will automatically let you join the event via your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera should all work smoothly). You are NOT required to download or install anything to your computer. The entire video stream will occur inside your web browser window just like any other website you might visit. There is no security risk or risk to your personal information. You can always join the event late, as this will not interfere with the presentation.
When you open the link you will be prompted to input a guest name. Please use your name that will allow us to identify you, and continue. On the following screen you may be prompted by your browser (depending on your settings) to allow access to use your computer’s microphone and camera. You do not need to approve these if you do not plan to talk or be seen at any time during the Q&A segment. Upon joining you should see a screen similar to the sample image seen below where the various icons superimposed on the pictures of participants will show when you hover the mouse pointer over the BlueJeans browser window.
By default, your system’s camera will be turned on and your microphone will be turned off. If you do not wish to show your face, you can of course do that by clicking on the camera icon like the one on the bottom right of the sample screenshot provided. We ask that you keep your microphone muted, since any background sounds and noises from your environment will be audible and may interfere with the speaker’s voice.
As we have done for the in-person events, we will be recording our virtual ones for future reference.
At any time during the lecture, participants will be able to post comments or questions for the speaker via the “chat” button also visible by hovering over the BlueJeans browser window. The moderator will read them for the speaker by way of a Q&A session at the end of the lecture.
In the days following the event we will be sending all participants a succinct feedback form, which we encourage you to fill in and send back to us.
A little background
It seems this talk is the outcome of a Mona Lisa Foundation initiative, which resulted in a 2019 book (mentioned earlier), Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa: New Perspectives, by Jean-Pierre Isbouts (editor).
Mona Lisa and attribution
From The Challenges of a Leonardo Attribution essay on the Mona Lisa Foundation website,
Few works of art have garnered as much attention from experts and the public as the ‘Mona Lisa’ in the Louvre Museum. By contrast, the ‘Earlier Mona Lisa’ has spent much of its existence hidden from view. Despite this, on the few occasions the painting has been available to be viewed, significant expert opinion has been recorded.
It is probably fair to say that attributing a painting to Leonardo da Vinci with certainty is one of the most difficult tasks in the field of Old Master paintings. To date there are about 18 to 20 paintings “more or less” attributed to Leonardo. One states “more or less” since there is not even one painting about which all the recognized Da Vinci experts agree. It is even disputed whether some parts of the famous ‘Mona Lisa’ portrait in the Louvre are not by the master. One famous expert said that attributing a painting to Leonardo is like “holding in one’s hand a burning iron rod.”
Nonetheless, it is generally accepted that he did paint all or at least the essential parts of those paintings currently attributed to him. In the case of a Da Vinci portrait, an attribution is generally agreed upon if the artist painted only the face, while some experts argue that it is even enough if Da Vinci had simply conceived the structure of the painting. It should be noted that some of his pupils and followers had great talent. The well-known ‘Lady with an Ermine’ and ‘La Belle Ferronière’ represent only recent attributions to Leonardo, having been attributed to pupils for almost 400 years.
Professor Jean-Pierre Isbouts says, “Every interpretation is subject to subsequent dispute. When you look at dating, when you look at authorship, when you look at provenance. So I think it’s just part of the world we live in that Leonardo scholarship happens to be a debating society whether you like it or not.”
The essay goes on to detail the key elements for establishing attribution and presents some contrarian views.
Jason Halter and science
I wish there was a little more detail about the science that Halter will be discussing. Halter’s science background seems to be confined to his work in architecture, which suggests material science. On the other hand, pattern recognition suggests algorithms and artificial intelligence.
As for Bruce Mau’s influence, mentioned as a colleague and mentor in Halter’s biographical details, Mau is a big deal in Canadian design circles who has an amateur’s interest (like mine) in science if his 2004 Massive Change show at the Vancouver Art Gallery is an accurate indicator. The show featured a bioengineered nose being grown in a beaker. (More about Massive Change and bioengineering in my February 21, 2013 posting.)