'Early Mona Lisa': Unveiling the one-in-a-million identical twin to Leonardo da Vinci painting

Scientific tests suggest Da Vinci started working on the 'Early Mona Lisa' in 1503, ten years before the one in the Louvre

Kunal Dutta
Monday 15 December 2014 21:17
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Movers prepare to hang Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Early Mona Lisa’ painting ahead of its exhibition at the Arts House in Singapore on Friday
Movers prepare to hang Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Early Mona Lisa’ painting ahead of its exhibition at the Arts House in Singapore on Friday

A second painting of the Mona Lisa thought to be produced a decade earlier than the one on display in the Paris Louvre has been unveiled in Singapore.

Scientific tests suggest that Leonardo da Vinci started working on the “Early Mona Lisa” in 1503, ten years before the one in the Louvre, but left it unfinished.

It was acquired by an English nobleman in 1778. But it was not until 1913 that Hugh Blaker, an art connoisseur, rediscovered the portrait. He brought the artwork back to his studio in Isleworth, south-west London, to restore it.

The work, which shows a younger woman against a different backdrop from the more familiar version, changed hands several times before it was passed to an international consortium in 2008.

The painting was presented to the media in 2012 by the Mona Lisa Foundation, which had compiled 35 years of research and tests. It published more findings the following year, leading most da Vinci scholars to believe that the second Mona Lisa is indeed the Italian’s work of art.

The painting will be on exhibit at Singapore’s Arts House until February 11 next year and is expected to reach Europe later in the year.

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