Mona Lisa … Prado Museum’s original copy to be shown in Louvre Museum

Mona Lisa … It is a name which never fails to attract attention; to hit the headlines. It has done so again right now. Madrid’s Prado Museum has announced that it has had a copy of Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa in its vaults for some years, and has now discovered after a restoration which […]

Da Vinci's on the left, the Prado's on the right

Mona Lisa … It is a name which never fails to attract attention; to hit the headlines. It has done so again right now.

Madrid’s Prado Museum has announced that it has had a copy of Leonardo da Vinci Mona Lisa in its vaults for some years, and has now discovered after a restoration which removed several layers of paint and an x-ray analysis that it is the oldest original copy (or replica) of the early-16th century masterpiece.

Da Vinci started his Mona Lisa, which the French call La Joconde and the Italians La Gioconda, in 1503 and finished it around 1519. The painting belongs to France and is on display at Paris’s Louvre Museum.

Prado’s news comes just at a time when the Mona Lisa is in the news because the Louvre is preparing an exhibition entitled Leonardo’s Last Masterpiece: The Sainte Anne which will open on Thursday, March 29 and will run through to Monday, June 25, and London’s National Gallery’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibition which opened on November 9, 2011, is to close this Sunday, February 5.

The Prado’s Mona Lisa will be part of the Louvre’s exhibition – it will be hung beside the original – but it will be shown first at the Prado in about three week’s time.

Who painted the Prado’s painting?

Art experts are saying that it was probably painted by one of Leonardo da Vinci’s apprentices/students, and that it was being painted while Da Vinci was painting his; that the two men stood painting alongside each other. The name of Francesco Melzi is mentioned and it is being said that he might well have been present when Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the wealthy Florentine silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, sat for Da Vinci.

We do not however know that Lisa Gherardini was indeed the woman of the painting. Another theory is that it is not even a woman on the painting, but a man, and he was the cross-dresser Salai who was Da Vinci’s lover. Salai (Little Devil) was the affectionate nickname Da Vinci gave Giacomo Caprotti da Orena.

I wrote about Salai and Da Vinci and you can read it here.

Despite that there are dozens of Mona Lisa replicas which date from the 16th and 17th centuries the Louvre is now assured that its forthcoming exhibition will draw a great crowd of people. There is anyway always a mass of people in front of the Mona Lisa. I therefore recommend that you make a reservation on-line. You can do it on the Louvre’s own website or you can do it here and you would either be able to download the ticket/s or have it mailed to you.

This is what it looks like in the Louvre in front of the Mona Lisa every day

I wrote another article about how the Mona Lisa was stolen on August 22, 1911 by the Italian Vincenzo Peruggia. You can read it here.

Know that the Louvre does not loan out the Mona Lisa, so if you want to see it, you will have to come to Paris.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

12 Responses to “Mona Lisa … Prado Museum’s original copy to be shown in Louvre Museum”

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  1. 12
    Miguel Ângelo Says:

    The two paintings are a stereoscopic image:
    http://miguelangelodesing.blogspot.com/2012/02/dois-pinturas-da-mona-lisa-louvre-e.html

  2. 11
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Thank you Prof Solari!

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