An Unexpected Mona Lisa

Published on July 27, 2007
An Unexpected Mona Lisa

The Château du Clos Lucé

The Château du Clos Lucé

The Mona Lisa unveiled at the Château du Clos Lucé. Temporary exhibition from 12 July 2007 to 6 January 2008
In Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, the exhibition “An Unexpected Mona Lisa” will reveal some of the truth about the myth of the Mona Lisa, exploring three different avenues:

* The Mona Lisa : a history, a story
From the commissioning of the painting in Florence to its theft from the Louvre in 1911 and the attack on it in 1957 just 50 years ago, this is an eventful story, full of mysteries.  The story in pictures of this painting, which stayed with Leonardo da Vinci throughout his life all the way to Amboise, with numerous actual size and enlarged reproductions.

* The picture deciphered, the Mona Lisa unveiled
This part of the exhibition presents the results of the “projet Joconde” [Mona Lisa project], conducted in the greatest secrecy in 2004 at C2RMF ultramodern laboratories (C2RMF – the Musées de France’s research and restoration centre).  Thirty-nine scientists from all over the world studied the work with the aid of infrared light, 3D cameras and radioscopy and investigated the “interior” of the painting.  This work, unprecedented in the history of art, now reveals its secrets to us and explains, amongst other things, the celebrated sfumato technique.

* The Mona Lisa: an inexhaustible source of inspiration
Organised in partnership with the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, this part of the exhibition takes an original look at the inexhaustible source of inspiration that this work represents.  Since the 16th century the Mona Lisa has been copied, made use of and interpreted by artists of every period: in ‘Jocondologie’ [the science of the Mona Lisa], ‘Jocondoclastie’ [the analysis of the Mona Lisa as separate parts], in infinite ways as the support for entertainment, artistic or commercial purposes.  Pastiches, like the misrepresentation of the Mona Lisa by Duchamp or Dali or the drawings of Fernand Léger, unusual objects, postcards and magazine covers the world over, illustrate the universality and timelessness of the work.

In partnership with:
- Le Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF)
- Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, Vinci, Italy
- The Association Les Amis de Mona Lisa
- Laure Fagnart, FNRS – University of Lièges

Things to see