It’s no secret that people studied under, and often imitated, Leonardo Da Vinci. In this case, though, there is something more significant going on.
As far as the major art historians can tell, this newly discovered ‘copy’ of the Mona Lisa was painted at the same time as the original by one of Leonardo’s star pupils. At this point the identity of the hand in question is still up in the air, but *top men* are working round the clock to figure out who painted this 500 year old painting.
It’s interesting to me to see how much of a difference not being considered one of the most important paintings of all time has on preservation efforts. This ‘copy’ is as old as the original. It hasn’t really been well cared for (for 200+ years most of the painting was covered in black lacquer) but, thanks to the fact that it wasn’t a terribly important painting, it hasn’t been ruined by state-of-the-art-in-1850 ‘restoration’ techniques. Because no one was horrified at the thought of losing this painting we haven’t lost it.
In the beginning, they both had eyebrows; they both had a twinkle in their eyes. In all likelihood, they both had on red dresses. Think about that.
Look at the two of them side by side. If you didn’t know anything else about the works, at a distance at least, which would you consider to be superior?