'Sister' Mona Lisa Found

Experts believe copy was painted by artist working alongside da Vinci
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2012 12:40 AM CST
'Sister' Mona Lisa Found
"It is as if we were in the same studio, standing at the next ease," a museum director said. "You can imagine that this is what the Mona Lisa looked like back in the 16th century."   (AP Photo/Paul White)

A stunning art find means that we can now see what Mona Lisa really looked like, say experts at Madrid's Prado Museum. The museum's researchers found that a painting in its vaults long thought to have been just one of dozens of replicas of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece was actually painted by a copyist who worked alongside da Vinci as he painted the original, the Guardian reports.

The discovery was made after conservators removed black over-painting to reveal a background similar to the original, which is covered in layers of dirt and varnish, and, because of its value, will probably never be cleaned. "Now we're seeing something that's much closer to Leonardo's original," says an expert who examined the copy. "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." (More art stories.)

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