We may finally know what the real Mona Lisa looked like.  The Prado Museum in Madrid recently cleaned and restored one of its more obscure and seemingly unimportant paintings, a copy of Leonardo DaVinci’s ‘Mona Lisa.’  In the museum’s possession since 1819, the copy was thought to have been completed after DaVinci’s death.  During the extensive process, however, museum officials discovered that the painting was done by a pupil working alongside the master: x-rays revealed that the copy evolved and developed just as the original did.  Experts were able to strip away the dark, cracked varnish and a black over paint, revealing a young woman with beautiful skin in front of a colorful Tuscan landscape.  Her eyebrows are visible, her lips are rosy, and she looks years younger than her more famous counterpart.  DaVinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ my hide similar charms under her own aged and discolored varnish.

A copy painted alongside DaVinci's 'Mona Lisa.'

To learn more about the painting, visit the Museo Nacional Prado websiteThe Art Newspaper also covered the story.  Click here to see the painting before restoration.

-Jayme Catalano