It's official: Reddit users deem Prado's Mona Lisa the superior painting

Originally published at:

1 Like

No love for the Duchamp version?


I think Reddit’s gonna Reddit.


I’m not looking forward to the Prado Code.

1 Like

See, the Prado’s Mona Lisa is an excellent example of how the best way to preserve a work of art is to leave it the heck alone.

Folks thought it was a worthless copy, so it wasn’t stolen (twice) or cracked. No one, in a fit of misguided 1800s preservationist spirit, scrubbed it with turpentine, removing the eyebrows and delicate glazes.

It was left alone, hanging on a wall. IIRC, the background was actually blacked out for a number of years.

It was worthless, so no one bothered to ruin it in the name of saving it.


Definitely the Prado version is better. Leo’s, her smile says “meh”, but the Prado one’s slight smirk says she’s having none of your sh*t.


well, her ass is hotter.


Prado’s Mona Lisa’s head and neck are, I think, in worse proportion to her body, making her look kind of like a turtle.


I think the Prado one has been restored, and the da Vinci one hasn’t been. I’m not looking at comparable paintings. Assuming that the restoration was faithful to the original, it suggests to me that the da Vinci one originally had a lot of features that make the Prado one more appealing to me – brighter colors, sharper details, etc. Compared, it looked like the da Vinci one has a brownish/yellow haze over everything, and it probably does.


Having seen a touring exhibit of the digitally restored Mona Lisa, the Prado version is fairly close to the true colors of the original. Time, abuse, and “restoration” have not been kind to da Vinci’s masterpiece.


We need to find all the other frames to watch the full animation.


The lower hairline is cuter

1 Like

Awesome! I wonder what else these Reddit people will have to tell us. While we’re on the topic, are there any other sort of discussion type sites out there where some official information might be found?


There was talk a few years back that these two images may have been intentionally different in orientation to produce a 3D stereo image (like those 90s magic eye images)


Prado is showing off his painting techniques above the actual model. That’s why there is the most effort in the detailed neck and hands as well as the sheer fabric she is wearing. If you notice Prado’s face is actually cartoonish in the details - he gave her bigger eyelashes and colored her lips to be more attractive.

DaVinci actually manages to make the veil look more realistic without the sheer fabric details, and includes a skin deformity next to her left eye.


The Mona Lisa has a thick layer of varnish, which really ought to be removed, and would have been removed by now if it was a less famous painting. The varnish was added over the years, as that’s how you preserve an oil painting - you apply a light coat of varnish and reapply it when it starts to wear off, to prevent the paint underneath from cracking/flaking.

But after so many centuries, you get a thick buildup of opaque yellow varnish. The correct procedure at this point is to carefully remove the many layers of old varnish (and smoke from the eras before electric lights), and then reapply one coat of varnish. But the Louvre cannot do that to the Mona Lisa, because removing varnish always carries a risk that you will remove some of the actual paint underneath by mistake. And so, because it is so ultra famous, we are stuck with a painting that looks far muddier and uglier than it should.


There’s a bright golden haze on the Lisa…

1 Like

I prefer the original. The colors have a certain, how do you say…je sais Vigo the Carpathian.


Maybe the artists were side by side?

The Prado version seems more photographic in some ways. I don’t know if that’s good or bad – and it may just because that version hasn’t been as worn over the centuries.

1 Like