Images: Museo Nacional del Prado
Conservators at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, discovered something fantastic when they cleaned up their replica copy of the Mona Lisa.
At first, they thought their Mona Lisa was made after Leonardo da Vinci's death, but it turned out the painting was made side by side by Leonardo's apprentice, and it revealed astonishing new details:
The final traces of overpaint are now being removed by Prado conservators, revealing the fine details of the delicate Tuscan landscape, which mirrors the background of Leonardo’s masterpiece. Darkened varnish is also being painstakingly stripped away from the face of the Mona Lisa, giving a much more vivid impression of her enticing eyes and enigmatic smile.
In the Louvre’s original, which will not be cleaned in the foreseeable future, Lisa’s face is obscured by old, cracked varnish, making her appear almost middle aged. In the Prado copy we see her as she would have looked at the time—as a radiant young woman in her early 20s.
The Art Newspaper has the story: Link