The Many Mona Lisas: the Best Replicas of the World’s Most Famous Painting
The Mona Lisa is one of the few works of art that everyone knows by name. It’s a celebrity in its own right, a legend, a cultural touchstone that connects us across the centuries.
But just as important as the original is, the replicas have become a phenomenon all their own. These replicas have brought levity, political statements, and all kinds of artistic re-imaginings to this important piece of work. Let’s look through the history of the painting itself, the rise of replicas, and then find out where you can get one of the best replicas of the Mona Lisa today at RtistiQ.
History of the Mona Lisa
Painted somewhere around 1503 to 1506 CE by High Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa is a portrait of Italian noblewoman Lisa del Giocondo. Of the many works attributed to da Vinci, it is one of the few that has never been in doubt.
And while we are confident that the Mona Lisa is a real da Vinci, there is evidence that other copies were made by the master. Sketches of the painting include columns on either side of Lisa, but the canvas of the original has never been trimmed, and analysis of the under painting reveals there were never any columns on the original.
It long called the Palace of Fontainebleau it’s home, before moving to the Palace of Versailles by Louis XIV. It was then moved to the Louvre after the French Revolution, before taking a brief detour in the bedroom of none other than Napoleon. At the time of writing, it can still be found at the Louvre.
Why the Mona Lisa Is Popular
Courtesy of WikiMedia
While it was appreciated through the centuries since its creation, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the painting really became popular. It all began with it’s theft from the Louvre on August 21st, 1911.
The popular French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested for the crime, and he accused the great Pablo Picasso, who had to be brought in for questioning by the police. But it turned out to be Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian nationalist who believed the painting should belong to Italy.
The scandal led to the Mona Lisa becoming the world’s most famous painting, thanks to the enormous amount of media coverage it received.
Mona Lisa Replicas
There’s no wonder, then, that so many great artists have tried their hand at creating a replica of the famous painting all their own. Even the great Rapheal sketched the painting after seeing it. Some of the best artists of any given time have made replicas.
A few examples give us an idea of how popular making these replicas has been.
Eugène Bataille painted a version with the noblewoman smoking a pipe in 1883 (called Le rire, or The Laugh, pictured above). Andy Warhol even took a shot in 1963, reproducing the image using a silkscreen process in 1963. More recently, Banksy has stenciled two versions of the Mona Lisa, one holding a rocket launcher (called Mona Lisa Mujaheddin) and one where she is mooning the viewer.
The Mona Lisa Hekking
One of the most famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) is about to go on sale in Paris. Auction house Christie’s is set to put this notorious replica on sale, where it is expected to get around €300,000 (or $365,645).
Called the Mona Lisa Hekking — named for the previous owner Raymond Hekking who purchased the work in the 1950’s and died in 1977 — the painting was claimed by the owner to be the true original, casting doubt on the veracity of the Mona Lisa for the first time in almost five centuries.
RtistiQ’s Mona Lisa Replica
RtistiQ’s collection contains a raw umber tone replica of the Mona Lisa by the artsit Rajasekharan Parameswaran.
Painted in 2017, this replica captures the famous painting in a striking palette, drained of color but pulsing with detail and character. It’s an entirely new view of the classic.
The replica stands a bit larger than the original, presenting an impressive presence in any room.
The artist, incidentally, holds two Guinness World Records. The first came in 2008 for the world’s largest easel painting, 56.5' tall and 31' wide and holds a 25’ by 50’ portrait of Elamkulam Namboodiripad. The second came in 2010 for the largest Burr puzzle.
His work includes portraiture and art direction for film. And his Mona Lisa reveals a profound understanding of the portrait as a form for expression.
Author: Jonathan M Clark