Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Little One @ Gallery :Leonardo da Vinci's Earlier Mona Lisa Exhibition

Do you love works of Leonardo da Vinci? If so, this exhibition is not to be missed.

Who was the mysterious woman, Mona Lisa?

Mona Lisa is a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci which many are familiar with. It is in Lourve. However, do you heard about the earlier version of Mona Lisa?

A second Mona Lisa?

When I first heard about this exhibition, I was excited. I really like Mona Lisa but had never get the chance to look at this great work from the genius, Leonardo da Vinci. Finally, I get to see his works in Singapore! At the same time, I was skeptically. Is this really the work of the great artist? I saw this earlier version on the web (Isleworth Mona Lisa), I thought the lady in the painting looks very beautiful and yet strikingly similar to the Mona Lisa at Louvre. And very obviously, she looked very young as compared to the well-known Mona Lisa. This controversial painting sparked a debates on whether it was done by Leonardo and whether it was a copy. So, was this portrait done by the same great master, Leonardo da Vinci? That is for us to find out in this exhibition.

The exhibition
"Elsa" at the exhibition
I was very lucky to win 2 tickets to this exhibition, from Leonardo da Vinci's Earlier Mona Lisa. facebook page. They currently are holding another giveaway for people residing in Singapore. I brought the whole family to the exhibition. My hubby, who was initially not interested in the exhibition but after knowing this is not an open house, he agreed to go because he does not like crowds, especially in galleries.

We queued to get in the exhibition after getting the tickets. YES, we had to QUEUE because only 80 people are allowed at max to visit the Chamber where the painting is held at any one time. Also, since this is tablet-led, interactive audiovisual exhibition, we decided to loan the tablets (FOC, in exchange of ID) as well.

Everyone entering the exhibition are allowed to borrow the tablet, even a child.
Transcript in the tablet
The same tablet has an adult's version and a child's version which the user can click to explore the exhibition. Seriously, I do not know how much Little One is able to understand the exhibition even with the tablet. We decided to loan one for her because she was likely to borrow from us if we didn't. And it worked. Throughout the whole exhibition, she was hooked on the tablet.

We walked through various sections, namely, Historical Evidence, The Discovery of the Century, Science and Mathematics, Comparative Analysis.

Below are only some of the highlights, there are simply too many evidences!

Historical evidence showing that Mona Lisa was unfinished ( a description that doesn't fit the painting of Mona Lisa at the Louvre which is said to be completed )
Late afternoon at the exhibition. A crowd was developing!

Science and Mathematics showed that the same pigments on the portrait of the Earlier Mona Lisa and Leonardo's palette are the same and these pigments were available in Florence at the beginning of 16th century.
Though the exhibition, the feeling that Leonardo is truly a genius grows as I explore around. His attention to details is superb. His painting technique sfumato which makes the portraits look real. He is able to capture viewers' attention by putting expression and character to the pictures that he paints. So, if this Earlier Mona Lisa (aka Isleworth Mona Lisa) is also his work, which great artist that you know could replicate a subject that is uncannily similar though of a different size? And yet had the ability to vision the aging of Mona Lisa 10 years later?

The attributions are difficult because he did not sign any of his works. Some art experts dispute that this Isleworth work may not be his work. However, all experts who saw the Isleworth version agreed this is a genuine work of Leonardo. 

Da Vinci often made 2 paintings of the same subject

However, evidences do point that this Earlier Version is not a replica.

Leonardo painted with left hand, not much great artist does that during his time and he was obsess with knots. Both versions contains left hand brush strokes. Both versions contains embroidery knots on the bodice. What was interesting was the patterns of the knots is the below:

Earlier Version: shows a continuity of two loops between each cloverleaf knot on the bodice.
Louvre Version: three loops between the cloverleafs in the central section. Is this an attempt to show this is a second version ?

Both versions of paintings contains irregularities in the ‘loop’ designs. Is this an attempt to confuse copycats? Many artists copied both versions but none were able to copy the irregularities in the loop design because this is very minute detail.

Finally, the Earlier Version does not have Leonardo's glazing technique (developed after 1508) which was used on the Louvre Version. This suggests that the Earlier Version is painted before the technique was invented. 

As a result of the similarities and differences, it is concluded both art pieces are two different paintings of the same subject.

Finally, we get to see the painting with our very eyes!

Exhibited in the former Parliamentary Chamber of the Old Parliament House is the Earlier Mona Lisa Painting! 

We were in awe. Mona Lisa looks so realistic. Her eyes seem to follow your every move. I particularly love her nose. 
Little One is still obsess with the tablet walked towards me. The lighting now has a "glow in the dark" effect on the Earlier Mona Lisa.
Due to dim lighting in the room, we could not get a good picture of Mona Lisa. This painting has been locked away in a Swiss Bank vault for over 40 years to undergo various scientific testing. We were about a meter away from the painting. The lighting near the painting glows on and off slowly. It is pretty difficult to take a good picture. We stayed on a while to admire the stunning masterpiece. 

Hubby took this.
I took several shots. This is the best that I could capture.
If you are here, be sure to take a look at some of the seats. Why? This room was the former Parliamentary Chamber of the Old Parliament House. Some of seats had been sat on by notable Singaporean politicians such as Lee Kuan Yew and S. Rajaratnam. Below 2 photos are poorly taken due to dim lights. I did not use flash as I do not want to be chase out of the exhibition room.


After seeing the exhibition, I am now a believer. It is a no wonder that Leonardo is always a topic for discussion. He is such a genius and had inspired many artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo. Even "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown is inspired by him.  I do recommend you to pay the exhibition a visit. Catch it before it ends!

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa
Date: 16 Dec 2014 till 11 Feb 2015
11am - 10pm except 11 Feb 2015, closed from 4pm

The Arts House at the Old Parliament is located at
1, Old Parliament Lane
Nearest Bus Stop
Bus 75, 100, 107, 130, 131 and 167
Walking 1 minute from bus stop.

Tickets are available from SISTIC and all SISTIC counter. If you are a Leonardo fan, you may be interested in the other exhibition, Da Vinci, Shaping the future which is held at Art Science Musuem too. A combo ticket can be purchase here.

P.S Little One thinks that the painting is beautiful too. 
All opinions are my own. We are not commissioned or ask to write this blog although I did win the tickets from facebook page.  

Linking with :-

new button

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...