The Mona Lisa is a famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci in the Louvre in Paris. As was common at the time, students and painters working in Da Vinci’s studio made copies or paintings in the style of work by the master of the studio.
Tara Cleary, Reuters::
Almost identical, but not quite. The painting on the right is a copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece. But a recent restoration study revealed that the replica Mona Lisa, which hangs in Madrid’s Prado Museum, was created at the same time, alongside Da Vinci’s work. And that it was done by one of his students.
During the study, the black overpaint on the copy was removed, revealing the landscape which is like that of the original Mona Lisa — convincing evidence, says Prado Museum’s Gabriele Finaldi, that the portraits were created in Da Vinci’s studio.
SOUNDBITE: Gabriele Finaldi (Deputy Director of Conservation at the Prado Museum): “I think what is very important is that it enables us to understand how Leonardo worked in his studio. Emm, we have evidence from other sources he would produce a work of art and at the same time his assistants would be working on similar or identical works of art. Here is evidence for it.”
And Finaldi says that even though the Prado’s version is beautiful, it can’t compete with Da Vinci’s original.
SOUNDBITE: Gabriele Finaldi, Deputy Director of Conservation at the Prado Museum, saying (English): “I don´t think there is a competition, I think it’s perfectly clear the Louvre picture is Leonardo’s original, this is a copy produced by an assistant, there are some differences which reveal, as I say, possibly what are earlier stages in the execution of the painting that is now in Paris.”
The restoration process was requested by the Louvre and took two years to complete.
Tara Cleary, Reuters.