- To Be Revealed at the Louvre in March 2012

The Mona Lisa is a world renowned oil painting created by Leonardo Da Vinci. It shows the portrait of a woman gazing towards her audience wearing a rather mysterious smile. Many speculate on who served as the model for this famous painting.

 Some suggest that the Mona Lisa is a self portrait because of some resemblances in Leonardo Da Vinci’s facial features but the more likely option would be that it was patterned from Lisa Gherardini—wife of a wealthy Italian businessman. ("BBC Science") The Mona Lisa is also referred to as La Gioconda or La Joconde.

Leonardo Da Vinci's - Mona Lisa - Louvre 2012In 1911, the Mona Lisa gained additional popularity when it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. The theft was commissioned by Eduardo de Valfierno who planned to make copies of the Mona Lisa and sell them as if they were the real one. The original painting was recovered and brought back to Louvre in 1913.

Just recently, a startling discovery was made at the Prado Museum in Spain. It turns out that the copy of the Mona Lisa housed in Prado (since 1666) is not just an ordinary copy but a copy made alongside the original. (Clark, 2012) It is speculated that this copy was made by Francesco Melzi, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s student and was supposed to be his favorite pupil. (Clark, 2012)

The original Mona Lisa and the “Prado Mona Lisa” are almost exactly the same except that the latter has a black background compared to the original’s hazy Tuscan one. Also, the Mona Lisa has sculpted eyebrows while the original has none. (Woolls, 2012)

The discovery was made during the copy’s restoration process to prepare it for the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition show scheduled at the Louvre in March 2012. Restorers studied the copy’s black background and saw that once removed, a hazy Tuscan background surfaced, which is very similar to the one in the original. Moreover, X-ray results show changes that were made to the original where also made to the copy, which supports the idea that the two paintings were made simultaneously. (Woolls, 2012)

Prado Mona Lisa copied as Leonardo Da Vinci painted the original

Art experts claim that the Prado Mona Lisa was created just two to three yards away from the original Mona Lisa. With this information, we are given hints of how Leonardo Da Vinci’s studio might have been like five hundred years ago. (NPR Staff, 2012)

This coming March 2012, in a once in a lifetime collaboration between the National Gallery of London and the Louvre Museum, the two versions of the Mona Lisa will be shown to art enthusiasts in the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit.

Together with Da Vinci’s other famous paintings like “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne” and “The Burlington House Cartoon - Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and John the Baptist”, the Mona Lisa and the Prado Mona Lisa will be open to the public eye. The exhibit will start on the 29th of March and will last until the 25th of June. ("National Gallery", 2011)

This exhibit will be the first time that the two Mona Lisa paintings will be placed side by side. It will truly be a momentous occasion in art history.