Oldest Copy of Mona Lisa Painted Alongside the Original Found in Spain (PHOTOS)

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A copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, thought to be the earliest replica of the sixteenth century masterpiece, has been discovered at Madrid's El Prado Museum.

The painting that resembles Mona Lisa is said to have been made by one of Da Vinci's pupils at the same time as the original and in the same workshop, and most probably alongside the Italian painter, according to an El Prado Museum statement.

The work has been in restoration for several months in preparation for an exhibition at the Louvre. The conservation process has not been finished. We are going to present the finished painting at the Prado in about three weeks, Gabriele Finaldi, the Prado's deputy director collections, said in a press conference in Madrid.

The museum spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that it is the earliest copy of the masterpiece and was discovered recently during works of restoration.  Infrared imaging further showed that the under drawings of both, the original painting at the Louvre and the copy, were similar indicating that the two pieces of art were created around the same time.

The officials said that style of painting in the copy indicates that it was made by one of Da Vinci’s apprentices named Francesco Melzi.

The painting depicts a similar Tuscan landscape in the background as in the original, but has a few striking differences in the object. The lady in the copy looks younger than the original Mona Lisa.

There are numerous replicas of Mona Lisa from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but the Madrid copy is found be the earliest of them and was painted next to the original.

Oldest Copy of Mona Lisa Painted Alongside the Original Found in Spain

A copy of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous "Mona Lisa" painting is displayed at Madrid's El Prado Museum Feb. 1, 2012. The painting was completed by one of Da Vinci's pupils at the same time as the original and in the same workshop, according to an El Prado Museum statement. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

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