Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Art of a Good Joke.

Sometimes, and some might say most times, art historians get things very wrong. This I would say is one of those occassions. The news yesterday and today was full of headlines proclaiming that the Mona Lisa has a long lost twin. This "Twin Mona" has been in the Prado since 1819 and before that in the hands of the Spanish royal family from 1666 (a full 160 years or so AFTER the Leonardo's Mona Lisa). The claim is not that Leonardo himself painted it but that one of his students did... side by side with Leonardo himself. Uh....Why?... because the black overpainting of the background was removed and that uncovered a landscape! Hey! Leonardo's Mona has a landscape!!! Ok, Leonardo's landscape is exquisite and this one not so much. But let's not stop there. And because the painting is on a Walnut panel! Hey! Leonardo's Mona is on a Poplar Panel!.. but wood is wood, right??? Nevermind that wood panels were used by countless other painters from that period until now. 
Here is my biggest problem with the "Twin" Mona Lisa. She's butt ugly. Yep. There. I said it. No way would Leonardo let a student make a copy of a portrait that he carried with him all over Europe for years, that was that ugly. Nope. Never. This Mona is not a twin but a mere copy made *after* Leonardo. So far and so after Leonardo, that there was no danger of this person getting a kick in the ass from Leonardo's well placed foot. That's my belief and I'm sticking with it. 
What's that, Leonardo sir? Oh, You're most welcomed.

The real Mona Lisa on the left and the ugly "Twin" on the right.

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