|Copying the Mona Lisa (click any image to enlarge)|
I searched the web a bit trying to find out how one applies for permission to copy it in person, but had no luck finding any information. That's probably a good thing, I doubt they would have approved of my plan of using a paintball gun to reproduce it. Alas, us great arteests are always misunderstood in our own time.
I did find out that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 by Vincenzo Peruggia, a worker at the Louvre. He was arrested a couple of years later, and the painting returned when, claiming he wanted it returned to its rightful place in Italy, he tried to sell it to a couple of Italian collectors. Peruggia became a sort of Italian hero because of his story and only spent a year in jail.
Later a con artist named Marques Eduardo de Valfierno claimed he was the one who actually planned the heist and hired Peruggia to carry it out. He further claimed that he had several copies made which he sold to private collectors and netted $90 million in the process. Sadly, as colorful as his story was, none of it ever checked out.
I also found out that the Prado Museum in Spain as discovered they have what is believed a contemporaneous copy of the Mona Lisa. Below is a detail of that copy. They think that it was painted by an apprentice of Leonardo.
|Detail of the Prado Museum's copy of the Mona Lisa|
|Detail of Marcel Duchamp's Mona Lisa|