Magazine article USA TODAY

Maine's Own Mona Lisa Mystery

Magazine article USA TODAY

Maine's Own Mona Lisa Mystery

Article excerpt

Although the buzz over "The Da Vinci Code" movie has waned, nothing perks up interest in the great Leonardo like one of his original works, and Maine's Portland Museum of Art has one--or does it?

All summer long, the museum will display its rarely seen "Mona Lisa" painting, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. This enigmatic "La Gioconda" is thought to be either a preparatory study for the "Mona Lisa" by da Vinci himself or a copy painted by one of his followers shortly after the creation of the original, which now resides in the Louvre museum in Paris.

The painting was given to the Portland Museum of Art in 1983 by Henry H. Reichhold. a summer resident of Prouts Neck, Maine, who purchased the work in the 1960s after the death of its European owner. Subsequently, "La Gioconda" was analyzed at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard University. Conservators determined that the painting was executed before 1510--the original "Mona Lisa" was created between 1503-07 but they were unable to confirm or refute da Vinci's hand in its creation. …

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