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Old 02-02-2012, 12:54 PM
llawrence llawrence is online now
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News: First Mona Lisa Copy

A Mona Lisa copy that has recently been cleaned has been discovered to have been painted by an apprentice of da Vinci - corrections made in the copy painting closely match some of those made in the original, suggesting that they were painted side-by-side, the apprentice copying the master.

It seems this version is better preserved than the original - perhaps partly because much of it was covered with a black layer for the past two or three hundred years, for some reason, that has now been cleared away (or maybe it hasn't been on display as much). Also, they don't have to be quite as careful with this one as they must be with the great painting itself, so they've been able to give it a thorough cleaning. So now one can get a better idea of what the Mona Lisa must have looked like when it was new. Here's a side-by-side:



It looks to me like the apprentice executed the copy remarkably well. Slightly closer:



Obviously not completely cleaned yet. But check out those lovely skin tones, and the details in the hair and clothing. And look! She's got eyebrows!



So much red is gone from the sleeves - in addition to the old varnish layer darkening everything, I'd guess the sleeves were glazed with some red lake pigment that has faded from the original, but was partly protected by that black covering layer in the copy.



News articles:

Telegraph - Mona Lisa feels alive again

Telegraph - 'Remarkable' discovery could shed new light on Mona Lisa

Fox - Spain Unveils 'Mona Lisa' Copy Done by da Vinci Apprentice

Interactive comparison:

Guardian

I'm excited by the discovery - I think it looks fantastic. And it gives me a better understanding of the great portrait.

I'll crosspost to Portraiture.
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:12 AM
llawrence llawrence is online now
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

Here is a pic of the pre-restoration Prado Lisa:



Rather disfigured. Here is a blog post about the discovery, with some nice big (if not sharp) images:

The History Blog

The slightly elongated neck and thinner head of the copy seem somewhat mannerist to me - as if the younger apprentice were allowing the newer sensibilities to creep in in certain ways. Slightly different tilt to the features as well.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:35 PM
Mythrill Mythrill is offline
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

Quote:
Originally Posted by llawrence
Here is a pic of the pre-restoration Prado Lisa:



Rather disfigured. Here is a blog post about the discovery, with some nice big (if not sharp) images:

The History Blog

The slightly elongated neck and thinner head of the copy seem somewhat mannerist to me - as if the younger apprentice were allowing the newer sensibilities to creep in in certain ways. Slightly different tilt to the features as well.

I can't spot these differences, but even if they are there, I think the copy looks great. The glazing is great, the skin tones are lovely... I wonder if vermillion was used in the original, since the sleeves of the copy are a bright red? The original sleeves are pretty much brown now, just like synthetic vermillion browns when exposed to light.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:55 PM
llawrence llawrence is online now
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mythrill
I wonder if vermillion was used in the original, since the sleeves of the copy are a bright red? The original sleeves are pretty much brown now, just like synthetic vermillion browns when exposed to light.
I thought about that, and at first glance at the Prado that looks right - but based on vermilion tests I've seen posted here by Gunzorro, vermilion gets darker but doesn't lose much saturation (about 8%, just eyedropping from the photos Gunz posted), so I wouldn't think that it actually turns brown. That's why I would bet on a lake pigment glaze having faded, leaving the mono modeling of the sleeve underneath. It would have to be a pretty warm red, though - a tin carmine lake, maybe? I can't remember whether they were using tin lakes back then...

Or, maybe, red lead, which might be just about that orange. It does have a reputation for darkening, but I've never seen a pic of what it actually does when exposed to the sun.

Of course, there's no way to be really certain– with all that dark yellow varnish on the da Vinci, can't even tell just what the sleeve color is now. Maybe someday they'll throw caution to the wind and give the thing a light cleaning.
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:14 PM
sharkbarf sharkbarf is offline
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

Quote:
Originally Posted by llawrence
Maybe someday they'll throw caution to the wind and give the thing a light cleaning.

I would think cleaning experts could very well clean it without having any adverse effects. Looks like they did a fine job with the copy.
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:01 PM
llawrence llawrence is online now
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkbarf
I would think cleaning experts could very well clean it without having any adverse effects.
I would think so too, but they aren't allowed anywhere near it. Too valuable to take any chance with, apparently. It's probably the most famous easel painting in history; insurance estimates for the painting at this point would run somewhere in the neighborhood of three quarters of a billion dollars (at least according to Wiki). To run any risk with it, no matter how slight, is unthinkable to its current stakeholders. Understandable, I suppose... but it sure would be nice to see it without that age-old layer of dirty varnish caked on. That's one reason I was so tickled to find out about this Prado copy.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:34 AM
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scottbaird scottbaird is offline
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to say "mannerist", but I do see what you're saying with the long neck. I'd never noticed that before with the original. The tilt with the head in the copy seems like the chin is slightly raised, which definitely makes the neck seem longer (but not to the extent painted by extreme mannerists like Parmigiano).

I'd be terrified of having the Mona Lisa cleaned. If they go just a fraction too deep it'd be ruined.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:10 AM
RedonneMoi RedonneMoi is offline
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

No doubt, the 2nd Mona Lisa looks awesome, but I still prefer da Vinci's Mona Lisa. She's much more mysterious and "unsearchable"

Kai
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:10 AM
maleaco maleaco is offline
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Re: News: First Mona Lisa Copy

If you search 'secret mesage in Mona Lisa' , you will find some very very interesting things that Leonardo hid into his painting

I wonder if such is also true with the copy....
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