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Mona Lisa at Madrid's Museo del Prado. Photo Credit Javier Soriano/Getty Images

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa might be one of the most copied pieces of art in history, and certainly one of the best known. But recently, curators at  Madrid’s Museo del Prado are claiming to a certified, genuine copy of Mona – a copy that had Leonardo’s seal of approval.

While comparing these two paintings (using infrared technology), one can see that various layers and steps the artists completed – both paintings have almost identical layers and both artists appear to have made the exact same changes at the same time.

“The changes mirrored the changes which Leonardo made on the original,” Martin Bailey, correspondent with The Art Newspaper in London, tells NPR’s Melissa Block. “[Conservators] concluded that the two pictures had been done side by side in the studio, and it was probably on easels which were two or three yards away from each other.”

Bailey went on to suggest that the artist who painted Mona Lisa‘s twin is likely to have been one of Leonardo’s main assistants: Melzi or Salai (who was rumored to have been da Vinci’s lover). Scandalous!!

The Original Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci at the Musee du Louvre in Paris. Image Credit Jean-Pierre Muller/Getty Images

While the two paintings are very similar, the newly discovered copy is noticeably brighter and much more colorful. Layers of varnish that has darkened and cracked over the decades, obscures the face of the original Mona Lisa. The copy brings a whole new life to Mona, and more vibrant detail to a world famous painting.

What do you think of the copy?

Do you think it’ll ever be as popular at The Louvre’s original copy of The Mona Lisa?

– Ann Erling Gofus

Yes, I know, I’ve blogged about the World Memory Project before, but this is what I do full-time (survey for the World Memory Project), so it’s a bit hard to get off the mind. ALSO I love to share the great stories being done on the project.

1. NPR just did a story yesterday on the World Memory Project. The story NPR did discusses Sol Finkelstein’s story, which is INCREDIBLY moving.  The video below is one made by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and includes an interview with Sol and his son Joseph.

2. CNN also did a story recently on the World Memory Project. In this story WMP Director Lisa Yavnai says, “The Nazis gave them numbers and we’re giving them back their names.”

Powerful stuff.

Aaaaaaand two of my co-workers make appearances on CNN!? That’s where Anderson Cooper lives!

Check out both stories and then head over to http://www.worldmemoryproject.org/ to get involved!

 

 

In the spring of 2009, I was a young archival assistant at the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. In the midst of my final semester at North Dakota State University, I was avoiding my thesis and working part-time in a small special collection on campus.

Aw, to be young again…

Anyways… at the start of the semester I was given a MASSIVE archival project – The Baumgartner Family Collection. Thousands of photographs, hundreds of documents, dozens of artifacts, all lovingly stored in shoe boxes, folded into books, and displayed in magnetic photo albums. (I can’t find words to describe the mental anguish I experience peeling/attempting to peel photographs from the pages of these magnetic photo albums – DO NOT USE MAGNETIC PHOTO ALBUMS, please.)

The collection mainly focused on Philippine (Baumgartner) Berglund. Over twenty binders of photographs traced Philippine through her high school years, college education, her career as a teacher, and her marriage to Gus Berglund. In the collection, one can see the record of nearly every course she studied in high school, a sample of her wedding lace, and the nameplate that sat on her husband’s desk. The entire collection is comprised of personal belongings and candid family portraits, giving the viewer an intimate glimpse at Philippine (Baumgartner) Berglund’s family.

A photograph from the Baumgartner Collection, Philippine Baumgartner (right). Photo credit Annie Erling, GRHC

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