The latest attention-grabbing headlines revolve around the ‘recent’ discovery, by Spain’s Prado Museum, of a copy of da Vinci’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa.
But hundreds of copies of the world’s most recognised artwork have appeared over the years – what makes this one so newsworthy? After all, this particular painting has been part of the Prado’s collection for nearly two hundred years and has, up to now, been widely considered as nothing more than an inferior reproduction.
Well, thanks to the very latest advancements in infrared technology, a recent analysis has proved that this version was actually painted at same time as the original – that is, one of Leonardo’s apprentices worked alongside the Grand Master copying his work, stroke for stroke - which makes this painting Mona Lisa’s exact contemporary.
|Leonardo by Giorgio Vasari|
In the case of Mona Lisa - often said to be the artist’s favourite painting – it is now thought Leonardo was so attached to his creation that he refused to be parted with it, and instead delivered his apprentice’s copy to Francesco del Giocondo, the man who had originally commissioned the portrait.
If this is so, Signor del Giocondo got a raw deal, because although a highly competent painting in its own right, the copy lacks the hauntingly eerie, almost other-worldly presence that has ensured the original Mona Lisa remains, after 500 years, the world’s most talked-about work of art.
But don't take my word for it - judge for yourself ...