Earliest copy of the Mona Lisa found in Spain

Da Vinci's famous masterpiece, copied alongside the original!

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa — probably the most famous painting in the world, right? It's also one of the most copied paintings in the world, with dozens if not hundreds of replicas created over the centuries. Everyone recognizes it, many love it: "iconic" is certainly a good descriptor of its impact.

Now, we have even more to learn about this masterpiece. Just this month, the Prado Museum in Spain unveiled an amazing discovery: what is believed to be the earliest copy of da Vinci's famous piece, most likely painted right alongside the master in his own studio. The Art Newspaper reported the findings, and the news took the art world by storm.

For years, the Prado had in its collection what appeared to be a pretty standard Mona Lisa copy — in fact, some thought it was a pretty poor copy, as the background was a swath of black paint, instead of the dream-like landscape seen in the original. It turns out this black background had been added later, possibly during the 18th century, for reasons unknown, as discovered when the copy was scanned and underdrawings shockingly similar to those of the original were uncovered.

The Prado and the Louvre in Paris (where the original Mona Lisa resides behind layers of glass and security) have determined, based on various factors including panel composition, age, and the fact that the underdrawing of the copy changed and developed in a similar fashion to that of the original, that this copy was most likely painted concurrently with the original: side by side with Leonardo, probably by one of his more respected apprentices.

Now that the layers of black paint have been painstakingly removed from the copy, we can see the ethereal landscape background — and since the copy has been restored and cleaned, we have a much clearer view of the Mona Lisa herself. As da Vinci's original is priceless and irreplaceable, chances are it will never be cleaned; meaning its layers of cracked and darkened varnish will forever cloud our view. Since the copy is no longer so occluded, we can see Mona Lisa perhaps more as she was: a lovely lady much younger than the original makes her appear. Other details, such as the spindles on her chair, the delicate, semi-transparent veil around her shoulders — and yes, even her eyebrows — are far more visible in this copy and can tell art historians much about the original that was thought lost to time.

Next month, the Prado copy will travel to the Louvre for an upcoming da Vinci show, and the two paintings will be reunited after 500 years apart.

(And speaking of the Mona Lisa, here at Jerry's Artarama we're pretty tickled about this new discovery. We ourselves, with help from you, just completed our own copy of the Mona Lisa, as featured on our 2012 catalog cover. While not painted alongside Leonardo, this version of the Mona Lisa was painted by you, our customers and contest entrants, and compiled by PictureMosaics.com into the mosaic masterpiece replica that is our thanks to you for your continued support. Who would have known that the timing would be so appropriate?)

So what are your thoughts on this newest discovery in the art world? Is the Prado Mona Lisa copy a star or a sham? Which version do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments below!


Prove It! Can you really get the same effects with water-mixable oil paints?

Prove It Art Marketing Videos

Prove It!

In this segment of Prove It! Mikey G will solve the mystery of water-mixable oil paints and test how they measure up against traditional oils. Can water really mix with oil? How do LUKAS Berlin Water-Mixable Oil Colors compare with traditional oils in terms of consistency, body, and clean up? Watch the video to find out!

Please enjoy this Prove It! video and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Are you a fan of water-mixable oil paints? Looking for a less toxic way to paint in oils? Tell us about it in the comments below!


A Jerry's Online Street Team Art Project with Elizabeth Gyles Johnson

Elizabeth Gyles Johnson is a pencil artist who focuses her art on the delights of life. Elizabeth teaches the intricacies of drawing at all skill levels to a collection of students worldwide through online workshops and classes at CreativePencils.ning.com Read more about Elizabeth in our featured Artist Spotlight post, then watch here as she creates an art journal page using SoHo colored pencils.


Art Journaling with Colored Pencils

Featuring SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencils

by Elizabeth Gyles Johnson, artist and instructor, creativepencils.com

An art journal can be an artistʼs best friend. It can tag along wherever the artist goes and can be a place to explore new techniques, new ideas and new supplies. Artist pencils are the perfect tool for an art journal because they are so portable.

A new pencil Iʼve been using lately is the SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencils. I have the set of 72 colors. And oh what lovely colors they are. There is a rich variety of colors in this set. I have found the SoHo colored pencils a joy to use. They are creamy and lay the color down smoothly. After creating a quick background with a blue watercolor, I was able to get right into the joy of coloring with the SoHo colors.

Colored pencil art is all about the layering of color to achieve depth and the desired shade. I was very pleased with how the SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencils blended. As the colors built up, they blended and created new colors altogether.

And yet, even after several layers of color, I was still able to get some defining lines with a sharpened point on the SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencil. The color stands out well even on top of several layers of color.

soho professional colored pencils for drawing

The SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencils sharpen well to a nice point and they do not wear down quickly. I found the SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencils to be a great choice for art journal colored pencils. The budget-wise price allows the freedom to color and create with abandon in my art journal. I will be using them a lot in my art journaling adventures.

Supplies Used:

elizabeth gyles

Watch as Elizabeth uses layer after layer of color to create depth in the journal page:

Elizabeth Gyles Johnson purchases all of her artist pencils from Jerryʼs Artarama because of their customer service and great packing of delicate artist pencils for shipping. Here are some other drawings Elizabeth has done with pencils purchased from Jerryʼs Artarama.

Have you used SoHo Urban Artist Professional Colored Pencils? Tell us about it in the comments below!

This is brought to you by the Jerry's Artarama Online Art Team - Promoting Art and Artists in our communities - For possible inclusion or to learn more about this program, please email us at webmarketing@jerrysartarama.com

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