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Spain’s Gioconda

A Tale of two Giocondas

Saturday 3 March 2012, by Peter Fieldman


For the past four weeks the art world has been captivated by a mystery with all the secrets of the Da Vinci Code. An obscure, uninspiring painting, which has adorned the walls of the Prado Museum in Madrid for three hundred years without attracting any particular attention, has suddenly become the centre of interest of art experts and critics around the world. The portrait of a young girl with an enigmatic smile against a solid black background, whose appearance and pose bear a striking resemblance to Leonardo Da Vinci’s work of art in the Louvre, has been identified as a second Gioconda or Mona Lisa. Its origin may never have been discovered if it had not been for the Louvre. Two years ago the Paris museum curators asked for the painting to be cleaned in preparation for a special Leonardo exhibition which begins at the end of next month in Paris (29 March -25 June). Modern technology depicted a landscape hidden behind the black surface and the painting has been carefully restored to its original state. It is believed to be the work of Leonardo’s disciples painted at about the same period. The defining moment of truth will come in Paris when the two Giocondas are exhibited together for the first time. Definitely worth a visit. The full story is on my blog: www.pfieldman.blogspot.com

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