Copy of the Mona Lisa Reveals Secrets

March 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. evidence (n.) – data or information that proves something is true
Example:  Experts found evidence that Mona Lisa is a real person.

2. apprentice (n.) – a person who works or trains with a skilled person in order to learn
Example:  Da Vinci’s apprentice learned Da Vinci’s painting style well.

3. meticulous (adj.) – being very careful in doing a certain task
Example: Painting requires one to be meticulous in order to get the right colors.

4. restoration (n.) – the act of making something new or look new
Example: Restoration of the old school building may attract more students.

5. detrimental (adj.) – harmful; describes something that can cause damage
Example: Wrong use of chemicals is detrimental to the restoration of old paintings.

Read the text below.

Art experts say that a copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, reveals new information about the artist’s most famous painting.

The copy of the Mona Lisa, displayed in The Prado Museum in Madrid, is one of many 16th and 17th century copies of Da Vinci’s work. But new evidence shows that this painting may have been painted at the same time as Da Vinci’s original, and not after Da Vinci’s death. It is believed that Da Vinci’s apprentice copied his master's strokes as the Mona Lisa was being painted.

Pieces of evidence were presented by experts after a meticulous restoration process on the copy. Its background was covered by layers of black paint and varnish, but taking out these layers revealed a detailed Tuscan landscape and a youthful Mona Lisa.

Experts now think that the real Mona Lisa was in her 20’s, much younger than the one seen on the original painting. These kinds of details are hard to see on the original Mona Lisa, because a thick layer of old, cracked varnish covers the artwork.

Fortunately, Prado’s copy can now help experts study Da Vinci’s work without having to do any restoration on the original, which could be detrimental to the very delicate painting.

The copy still needs more restoration, but once finished, it will be sent to the Louvre to be displayed beside the original Mona Lisa.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How important is art in society?
·         Should the government invest its money in art? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What do you think makes a piece of art work great?
·         If you were a painter, what would you likely paint? Why is that so?


March 22, 2012