Oil painter and graphic designer Ron Piccirillo thinks that Leonardo da Vinci meant for the Mona Lisa to depict envy, based off of some images of animals he’s discovered in the painting after turning it on its side that relate to some of da Vinci’s thoughts on the subject. From The Daily What:
First, a lion’s head came into focus above the subject’s head. “Then I noticed the buffalo and I thought: ‘Oh my god’,” he says. “Then I realised I was really onto something.”
Piccirillo believes the veiled menagerie — he later discovered an ape and a crocodile-snake creature as well — suggests da Vinci meant the Mona Lisa to depict envy. Piccirillo points to a passage in da Vinci’s journals which he says confirms his theory.
In the passage, da Vinci writes that the artist who wishes to paint envy must “give her a leopard’s skin, because this creature kills the lion out of envy and by deceit.” Piccirillo claims other passages on envy in da Vinci’s notes also indicate that he is referring to the Mona Lisa.
Read more at the Telegraph.