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The Big Six: from outdoor Jacuzzis and inky interiors to views of the Eiffel Tower

Postcard from... Istanbul

At its peak at the end of the 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire ruled over parts of North Africa, Asia and Europe, even reaching the outskirts of Vienna. Today's Turkey is much smaller but it has not forgotten its imperial past.

Postcard from... Istanbul

At its peak at the end of the 16th Century, the Ottoman Empire ruled over parts of North Africa, Asia and Europe, even reaching the outskirts of Vienna. Today's Turkey is much smaller but it has not forgotten its imperial past.

Mona Lisa (left)
Leonardo’s preferred medium was wood, not canvas which the Isleworth version is painted on. Art historian Martin Kemp said: 'The head, like all other copies, does not capture the profound elusiveness of the original'
The 'Isleworth' Mona Lisa (right)
The Mona Lisa Foundation's researchers claim they can identify Leonardo's brush strokes. Art historian Stanley Feldman said: 'It strikes us that in order for that to be so accurate... only the person who did one did the other.'

Experts claim 'Mona Lisa' had a bit of previous

The Mona Lisa's elusive smile has enthralled visitors to the Louvre for generations, but yesterday a Swiss foundation unveiled what it said was an earlier version of Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece, claiming it was completed over a decade before the famous Renaissance painting.

Mona Lisa (left)
Leonardo’s preferred medium was wood, not canvas which the Isleworth version is painted on. Art historian Martin Kemp said: 'The head, like all other copies, does not capture the profound elusiveness of the original'
The 'Isleworth' Mona Lisa (right)
The Mona Lisa Foundation's researchers claim they can identify Leonardo's brush strokes. Art historian Stanley Feldman said: 'It strikes us that in order for that to be so accurate... only the person who did one did the other.'

Could there be an earlier version of the Mona Lisa?

Swiss foundation unveils what it claims is 1505 painting by Leonardo – with a UK link

The Isleworth Mona Lisa? Foundation claims Da Vinci's masterpiece had twin

A foundation says it will prove to the world today that Leonardo Da Vinci painted an earlier version of the Mona Lisa - a claim doubted by at least one expert on the multifaceted Renaissance artist.

Charging Chasseur, 1812, by Théodore Géricault

Louvre, Paris

Aung San Suu Kyi visited the Louvre Museum in Paris yesterday

Call our country Myanmar, Suu Kyi is told

Aung San Suu Kyi's home country has changed dramatically over the past year, but one thing won't change just yet: its name.

Donald MacInnes: Hunter-gatherers do sometimes like to go shopping

A couple of weeks ago, I admitted to having the emotional fortitude of what is categorised by scientists as "Toddler After Lollipop Removal".

Delacroix's 1830 canvas

Skip to the Louvre... in Pas de Calais. Museum opens site in the north

There will be no need to travel all the way to Paris to see the Louvre from the end of this year. Over 200 of the museum's most important works will be moving to a new branch in Lens in the Pas de Calais, just across the Channel.

Visitors to the Louvre are given fresh perspective through the Nintendo 3DS guides

Mona Lisa meets Mario

Some of the world's finest museums and galleries are embracing high-tech guides. So, is the Nintendo DS set to be the Louvre's latest big-name attraction? By Rebecca Armstrong

Da Vinci's version of the Mona Lisa at the Prado in Madrid

So, she truly was Leonardo's labour of love

The discovery of another version of da Vinci's masterpiece shows that La Gioconda took him 16 years to paint

Gaming and art move ever closer as the Louvre gets 3DS audio guides

Nintendo will be providing the Louvre with Nintendo 3DS systems that will house an exclusive audio guide from 11th April.

Taking Time, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury

French artists of the ancien régime were rarely given to intimate, everyday studies – which is why Chardin's boys at leisure are so enticingly mysterious

Louis Vuitton presents a platform trend during its show in Paris

I had eyes for one thing only (and it wasn't the clothes)

In a world dominated by anoraks, bobble hats, enamel badges and vacuum flasks, railways and fashion are not obvious partners. Most of us boys gave up finding trains sexy when we discovered girls. And most girls – of any age – have never found trains sexy at all.

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Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
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AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
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Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
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The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
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Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
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newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
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Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor