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    SE online /

    World's biggest Mona Lisa

    World's biggest Mona Lisa

    The world’s biggest Mona Lisa has been unveiled just as the secret of her enigmatic smile was revealed for the first time. The giant version of the Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece has gone on display at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham. It measures 17.5m, covers 240m sq and is 50 times bigger than the 16th century original which is hanging in the Louvre art gallery in Paris. The Wrexham version, which could accommodate 22 London buses, is more than double the size of the version painted by Rolf Harris in Edinburgh in 2005 the previous biggest. Artist Katy Webster was in charge of the project which involved 245 people and took 987 man hours to paint, using 86 litres of paint. It was painted on scores of different segments by community groups including Victoria Primary School and the Haulfan Centre for people with disabilities. Speaking after the mega Mona was unveiled the artist said: “It’s kind of mind blowing how big she is but the smile is still as enigmatic as ever. “It took over a week to do her face that was the hardest because everybody knows what it looks like so we had to make sure it was exactly right. “Our version has a different style to the original because the paint is acrylic but I think it works well. “This has been the best bit today putting her together so we can see the Mona Lisa in all her glory.

    “Because there’s a balcony overlooking our Mona Lisa people will have a spectacular view of her. “It is really great that this project by Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre has brought art to the community with so many members of the local community involved in creating this amazing piece of art we see before us today. “It is really important for me that art is accessible and adorns public spaces, like this wonderful centre, instead of locked away in galleries.” Fine art graduate Jude Davies did 200 hours of work on the project and was barely able to contain her excitement. She said: “People see different things the more you look, the more you see. I didn’t realise that she hasn’t got any eyebrows. On her face everything is blended in. “Her smile changes depending on how and when you look at it. Her eyes seem to follow you wherever you’re standing.” This week, scientists at the Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante, Spain, claimed to have solved the conundrum of Mona Lisa’s smile. The subject, Lisa Gherardini, is both smiling and not smiling depending on what cells in the retina pick up the image and through which channel the image is transmitted in the brain. A member of the team, Luis Martinez Otero, said: “Sometimes one channel wins over the other and you see the smile, sometimes others take over and you don’t see the smile.” The work was created to raise money for Hope House Children’s Hospice which provides vital help for terminally ill youngsters and their families. Supporters of the charity can buy a piece of the replica with the money going to Hope House. The vast copy will remain in place for two years before being broken up. Shopping centre manager Kevin Critchley had the original idea for the giant painting. He said: “Our Mona Lisa has a lot of advantages over the original. It’s a lot bigger so she is much easier to see, admirers will not have to queue to make her acquaintance, there isn’t any entry charge to Eagles Meadow, and unlike the version in Paris you will be able to touch her.”

    Источник: School English #11, 2009

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