The Prado's Mona LisaEnviado por Artistic en Jue, 03/01/2012 - 19:30
The replica of the Mona Lisa will be exhibited in Room 49 of the Prado Museum until 13 March. The work, painted by an unknown artist, was produced in Leonardo da Vinci's studio at the same time as the original Mona Lisa.
The painting has always belonged to the Madrid museum, though it went unnoticed for many years. First, experts said it was a Flemish copy from the 17th century. Later, that it was, in fact, an Italian copy. Finally, and following a long research process and restoration work carried out last autumn, we now know something more: the Prado's Mona Lisa (La Gioconda del Prado) was produced at the same time as the Leonardo da Vinci original hanging in the Louvre, and can reveal some of the secrets of the legendary Renaissance painter.
A month ago, the art world was shaken by the news. Following its restoration, the replica stored in the Prado depicted a very similar landscape to the original. The two paintings, displayed side by side in all the newspapers, seemed to show the same person before and after the application of make-up. Once the black background was removed, the Prado's Mona Lisa recovered some of her original appearance: her reddish hair, the folds in her mantle and the vivid colours of her complexion.
This is not a masterpiece; however, scientific analyses carried out demonstrate that this Mona Lisa is a work from da Vinci's studio. And that is not all. Since the work was created at the same time as the original and is in a perfect state of conservation, it may shed some light on some of the mysteries surrounding da Vinci's work. For example, this painting illustrates the working methods used in Renaissance art studios, in which, it seems, apprentices could copy the work of their master as he was painting.
Experts are considering the possibility that the apprentice who produced the Prado's Mona Lisa may have been Salaï (1480-1524), Francesco Melzi (1493-1572/73) or Valencian artist Fernando Yáñez (1505-1537), although its authorship may remain a mystery. In any case, it is remarkable that such expensive materials were used - including oak and lapis lazuli - for a simple training exercise, raising the possibility that this painting was commissioned by someone important, although it is still not known who that person might be. Perhaps Francesco Bartolomeo del Giocondo, the husband of the woman who supposedly posed for the portrait? But what would he want with two almost identical paintings?
The work has been part of the Prado Museum's permanent collection since its foundation. After travelling to Paris on 13 March, where it will form part of the exhibition "Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Masterpiece: St. Anne" (L'ultime chef-d'oeuvre de Léonard de Vinci, la Sainte Anne) in the Louvre, it will return to the Prado once more.
At Artistic Bed & Breakfast, we are very close to the Prado museum, so now you have another reason to come and visit us!