Earliest ‘Mona Lisa’ version discovered

Earliest ‘Mona Lisa’ version discovered

MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Earliest ‘Mona Lisa’ version discovered

This photo shows the original ‘Mona Lisa’ (L) in the Louvre, and a recently discovered copy of the ‘Mona Lisa’ painting as it was displayed at El Prado .

Spanish curators identified on Feb. 1 what they think is the earliest ever copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, painted in the artist’s own studio and looking younger and more ravishing than the original.

Madrid’s Prado Museum unveiled a restored version of the so-called “Mona Lisa of the Prado,” in which the woman the Italian artist painted, with her enigmatic smile, sat previously against a background of black paint.

The restored version, with the black paint removed, shows her backed by a landscape of hills and rivers resembling those of the original masterpiece, which hangs in the Louvre museum in Paris.

Previously thought to be a later replica, the Prado’s picture is “probably the first known copy of La Joconda,” as the Mona Lisa is known, said Miguel Falomir, a curator of Italian painting at the Prado.

He said expert analysis suggests “the painting was done in the painter’s own workshop. It is absolutely consistent with Leonardo’s work.” But he added: “It is a work in which Leonardo did not intervene.”
The museum said the painting will go on show at the Louvre alongside the original from March 26.
The experts said that techniques used in the Prado’s painting, now brought to light through methods such as infrared scanning, shed precious light on the way Leonardo himself worked.