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Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa Uncovered (Conservation Matters lecture)

Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required. This event is now sold out.

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Leonardo's Mona Lisa is arguably one of the most famous paintings in the world—if not the most famous. The abundance of speculation about her enigmatic smile, her identity, and the meaning of the painting has only increased her fame; but what does the Mona Lisa really look like down to the nanometer scale?

Join Michel Menu, head of the research department at the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France, as he takes us on a journey of exploration below the surface of this extraordinary painting.

In 2004, 39 specialists undertook what is considered the most comprehensive scientific examination of a painting ever conducted. Using the most advanced noninvasive and nondestructive techniques (see photos below), the Mona Lisa was examined from the macro to the nano scale. The study provided information for the reinstallation of the Mona Lisa in a new glass case and revealed some entirely new information about Leonardo's famous painting, from its state of conservation to clues about the period in which it was created.

About Michel Menu
Michel Menu is head of the research department (laboratory) at the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (Center for Research and Restoration of the French Museums) and a principal organizer of the project to examine the Mona Lisa.

About Conservation Matters
Conservation Matters is a series of occasional lectures hosted by the Getty Conservation Institute examining conservation issues from around the world.

Infrared image of Leonardo's Mona Lisa

X-radiograph of Leonardo's Mona Lisa

Emissiograph of Leonardo's Mona Lisa

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.

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