Amazing art world news this week: The Prado Museum in Madrid has uncovered a replica of the Mona Lisa that was painted by one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s pupils “at precisely the same time he was painting the original.” What’s most interesting about this piece: the painting gives us a much better understanding than the original of what the real woman looked like. The Art Newspaper reports that, because the original Mona Lisa painting is too valuable to clean, “Lisa’s face is obscured by old, cracked varnish, making her appear almost middle aged. In the Prado copy we see her as she would have looked at the time—as a radiant young woman in her early 20s.

The Art Newspaper’s Martin Bailey, who has seen images of the Prado replica, says “Now we’re seeing something that’s much closer to Leonardo’s original – we’re looking at Lisa almost eye to eye, we can see her enticing eyes and enigmatic smile much more clearly. It makes her look much younger and more attractive than the rather more aged version of Lisa that we see in the Louvre.

As restoration work on the painting has yet to be completed, the painting won’t be revealed to the public for another three weeks. We’ll be watching for it!


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