Mona Lisa smile: Copy, dating back to 1600, set for Paris auction

The copy is so like da Vinci’s original that it is likely the artist had access to Leonardo’s version, the Artcurial auction house said.

People look at a reproduction painting of the Mona Lisa by an unknown artist dated around 1600, at a gallery in Vienna, Austria [File: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters]

A faithful copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa dating from more than 400 years ago will go under the hammer at a Paris auction on Tuesday, months after another reproduction of one of the world’s most recognisable portraits sold for a record price.

Leonardo’s original, which French King Francois I bought from the painter in 1518, can be found in Paris’s Louvre museum and is not for sale.

But the copy that is on sale, dating from around 1600, is so similar to the original that it is likely that the artist had close access to Leonardo’s version, the Artcurial auction house said.

It estimates the copy will fetch 150,000-200,000 euros ($173,000-$230,000).

“Mona Lisa is the most beautiful woman in painting,” Artcurial auction house expert and auctioneer, Matthieu Fournier, said as the painting went on public display ahead of the sale. “Everyone wants to own a high-quality version of Mona Lisa.”

Leonardo, he stressed “had fans, because he invented a style. He had followers, imitators”.

In June, a European collector bought another 17th-century copy of Mona Lisa for 2.9 million euros ($3.35m), a record for a reproduction of the work, at an auction at Christie’s in Paris.

In 2017, Christie’s New York sold Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi for a record $450m.

Source: Reuters