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A double for one of art's most famous faces

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A double for one of art's most famous faces


The “Mona Lisa” is arguably the most famous face on canvas. Now Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting has a double, unveiled by Spain’s Prado Museum.

The find was made while restorers were carrying out conservation work and has been described as, “stunning” by art historians.

They believe it can reveal fresh insights into the work of the Italian Renaissance painter as its thought it was completed by a pupil of Da Vinci at the same time he painted the “Mona Lisa”.

“In the under-drawing you can see changes which are only apparent underneath the surface of the Louvre painting. This is what makes us think this a picture that was being produced at the same time as Leonardo was painting his picture, so the artist of this picture was making the same changes Leonardo was introducing into the original,” explained Gabriele Finaldi, Deputy Director of Conservation at the Prado Museum.

The original, “Mona Lisa” hangs in the Louvre in Paris. The world’s most famous smile is so fragile it is too risky to restore or clean.

The fully conserved Prado replica will be loaned to the Paris Gallery for an exhibition in March.

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