Mona Lisa

Andy Warhol American

Not on view

This Mona Lisa is one of the earliest works for which Warhol employed silkscreening, the printing process that he adopted in 1962 to quickly and easily make multiple copies of preexisting images. Here, he revels in the act of duplication. By replicating a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting Mona Lisa (1503–6; Louvre) four times two different ways, the artist reduces a masterwork epitomizing traditional notions of artistic genius and authorship to a pale shadow of its former self. Warhol’s Mona Lisa was donated to The Met by his friend, Henry Geldzahler, the Museum’s founding curator of contemporary art. One year before Geldzahler made his gift, Warhol released the film Henry Geldzahler (see MMA 1999.45k), which consists solely of ninety-seven minutes of footage of the curator smoking a cigar.

Mona Lisa, Andy Warhol (American, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1928–1987 New York), Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas

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