Madrid’s Prado Museum’s Mona Lisa: A Mere Replica?

Today I was browsing the internet when I came across an intriguing article about the Mona Lisa “replica” at Madrid’s Prado Museum. The painting has resided in the museum for centuries and has never received much attention. Recent research and infrared technology has lead experts to believe that this painting has a lot more to offer than once thought. Experts have reason to think that the painting was created in Da Vinci’s workshop, by one of his students, and simultaneously with the original piece. Infrared technology has revealed that the same Tuscan landscape as in Da Vinci’s original is concealed under a thick varnish. Additionally, the technology allows one to see the preliminary sketches made under the painted surface. These sketches and reflectography images of the Mona Lisa were compared and they aligned.

There are several reasons as to why this copy may have been created. Some researchers have come to the conclusion that Da Vinci had students in his workshop replicate original pieces to sell and make a profit. Others feel as though Da Vinci wanted to hold a copy of the original for himself because he was so attached to the work. A third opinion is that students of Da Vinci followed his every move and copied all his masterpieces out of adoration. Either way these assumptions raise many questions. Who created the copy of the Mona Lisa? Two possible students could have created the piece in concordance with Da Vinci: Andrea Salai or Francesco Melzi. While both were extremely close to the artist, the Prado believes the latter is more likely. Furthermore, what else can this copy reveal about the practices that took place in Da Vinci’s studio? I look forward to learning more about the Prado’s Mona Lisa and seeing what secrets about Da Vinci will be unveiled.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2105928,00.html

Camille Paley

One Response

  1. It is pretty incrediable to learn things like this. I think that the fact that this replica probably came from da Vinci’s studio says alot about the mind of the artist hasn’t changed much. I mean to say that I think alot of artist become really attached to the works that they create and for some of us it is really difficult to sell our works but if we had a “copy” then this might be easier.

    It also brings to my mind the question of history for both peices. Part of what I think makes da Vinci’s work so amazing is not only the quality but this history and story of its work. So which piece has a more interesting story and is more valuable, the one that was created and sold or the one that daVinci wanted to hold on to himself?

    Such a cool article!!

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