The new face of the Mona Lisa




I think it is safe to say La Joconde, the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, or simply the Mona Lisa is the world’s most famous picture.


It is thought Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (a.k.a. Leonardo da Vinci) began painting this artwork in 1503 or 1504, and it took him around fifteen years to complete it. La Joconde is considered to be Leonardo’s masterpiece.


So what about it?


Many replicas of this painting have been conserved, studied (and sold) over the years, but now, in 2012, Madrid’s Prado museum claims to have discovered new details, a new face if you will, by means of recent restoration to one of the earliest replicas, which is thought to have been created by one of Leonardo’s students.


Supposedly, the removal of black varnish (paint) on the replica, revealed the fine details of the delicate Tuscan landscape.


Darkened varnish is also being painstakingly stripped away from the face of the Mona Lisa, giving a much more vivid impression of her enticing eyes and enigmatic smile: Art Newspaper (via


So, how does it look?




If you’re eager to take a closer look, you can check out this interactive site.  If you want more, according to the BBC, this replica (fully restored) will be displayed alongside the ‘original painting’ in March, allowing visitors to compare both works.


The ‘original painting’ is at the Denon wing of the Musée du Louvre (Paris), displayed behind glass.  Although the museum argues it is ‘the real deal’ it is hard to believe so, given that millions of tourists photograph it every year (even using flash on their cameras), without further consequences.


The "real deal"

February 1st, 2012.




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