Detail of the copy of the Mona Lisa in the collection of the Museo del Prado during the final phase of restoration
February 4th 2012, source: Prado Museum
According to the Prado Museum, "[our] copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting the Mona Lisa, the original of which is in the Louvre, was painted by a pupil or follower of the artist at around the same time as the original. The importance of this discovery, which was made during the study and restoration of the painting at the Prado for its inclusion in the exhibition at the Louvre on Leonardo that opens on 29 March, lies in the fact that as a contemporary and perfectly preserved copy, it contributes important information on both the landscape background and on numerous details of the mysterious sitter."
"Following its rediscovery" -the release continues- "this copy of the Mona Lisa in the Museo del Prado, which has now been confirmed as a work of one of Leonardo’s pupils or followers working in his studio while the original was being painted, has not only been confirmed as the oldest known copy of this enigmatic image but also acquires considerable importance for its potential to cast more light on the Louvre’s painting. Having previously been in the Spanish royal collections, the present copy entered the Prado when the museum was founded in 1819. Although the exact date and manner in which it entered the royal collections is unknown, it is probably the work that is referred to in 1666 in the inventory of the Alcázar as a female portrait associated with Leonardo. Miguel Falomir Faus, the Prado’s curator of Italian Painting up to 1700, believes that this copy may have reached Spain in the early decades of the 17th century".