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Five places you can see the Mona Lisa - that you might not expect
A copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Mona Lisa is quite possibly the most famous portrait in the world, and definitely one of the most valuable. If you want to see the original then you will, of course, have to travel to The Louvre in Paris. However, with copyright on the great work being basically out of the question you can find the iconic image in many different places, some of which are more unusual than others. There is only one original of course, but you never know where the masterpiece will crop up next. Today we’re going to take a look at the knock-offs, replicas and tributes in popular culture that cement the painting’s legacy.

All Over China
It is a well-established fact that the nouveau riche across China love Western luxury, and what could be more luxurious than your very own Mona Lisa painting? When down on their luck or bereft of ideas, artists throughout China often turn to the Mona Lisa for inspiration, painting replicas in their hundreds. Admittedly, many of these paintings ultimately end up in Europe or the USA, sold at a profit by online retailers and mail order catalogues to buyers that clearly want a dose of Da Vinci’s genius in their home.

On the Cover of The Da Vinci Code – And In the Movie Too
Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa are destined to be closely linked until the end of time, and while Dan Brown’s hugely popular novel deals with the paintings only incidentally, keen-eyed readers will easily be able to spot the influence of the Mona Lisa. Those keen eyes are definitely required for the book cover, as only the Mona Lisa’s eyes appear within the graphic. The full painting can also be seen in the trailer for the movie version but appears very briefly in the film itself and is only a minor plot point at best.

On Gaming Floors from Las Vegas to Macau – And Beyond
One venue where you can always expect to see famous works and individuals – both real and mythological – of history, is on the casino floor. When game designers are as bereft of ideas as the Chinese artists mentioned above, they often seek inspiration from the exploits of others. Everyone from Christopher Columbus to Cleopatra has been immortalised on electronic gaming machines, and the Mona Lisa’s debut appearance came, almost inevitably, on a game called Da Vinci Diamonds. According to, the game is “one of the most played slot games of all time,” and while the presence of the Mona Lisa may or may not have contributed, it has certainly been viewed by plenty of gamblers.

On a 5 Pfennig Stamp from Deutsche Bundespost
Pfennigs may have disappeared from circulation with the introduction of the euro in 2002, but while they live on in coin collections to this day, they are also depicted in stamp collections too. Deutsche Bundespost celebrated what would have been Leonardo Da Vinci’s 500th birthday with the release of a Mona Lisa stamp. According to, over 11 million of the stamps were printed, and they clearly never quite went on to replicate the rarity of the original painting as they can be bought today in mint condition for €1.50!

On Daytona Beach – On a Specific Day in 2011
If you wanted to take a look at this particular rendition of the Mona Lisa, then you might be disappointed to learn that the chance has now passed! Two high school students spent surprisingly little time collecting the seaweed from an area of Daytona Beach in Florida, before then forming it into what was actually a pretty decent replica of the painting. They did quite a reasonable job for an hour’s work, and while their efforts were clearly washed away rather promptly, the image lives on through Google Images.

There are countless other opportunities to find individual takes on the Mona Lisa around the world, such as the Mini Lisa created by Keith Carroll at the Georgia Institute of Technology, but you might have to look quite closely given that it is approximately 1/25,000th the dimensions of the original painting. With both the artist and the piece being integral components of popular culture, we look forward to seeing how the Mona Lisa is celebrated in yet more new and creative ways in the future!

Today's News

December 5, 2017

Exhibition in Bilbao analyzes the interaction between spaces and volumes

The Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí presents the last section of Salvador Dalí's catalogue raisonné of paintings

Louvre launches appeal to acquire King François I's Book of Hours

Museum files legal request seeking Superior Court trial to end delays that threaten museum's future

Getty appoints new vice president, chief financial officer, chief operating officer

First museum exhibition devoted to Baron Adolf de Meyer in more than 20 years opens at The Met

O'Keeffe's Desert Abstraction (Bear Lake) finds 'forever home' at the New Mexico Museum of Art

Saint Louis Art Museum receives major gift including 81 works by contemporary black artists

Allen Memorial Art Museum showcases modernist works donated by Maidenform founder

Fashion photographer Bruce Weber accused of sexual harassment

Benin encouraged by Macron's pledge on African heritage

Group of seven Ali photos, negatives could claim top-lot honors in Heritage's Holiday Online Photographs Auction

Washington holds glam art awards Trump opted to skip

Exhibition shows art from exceptional but rarely-seen public and private collections

World's earliest Nobel Prize to appear at auction offered Jan. 7-8

Greta Garbo's loneliness revealed in letters to be auctioned

Indian screen icon Shashi Kapoor dies aged 79

Hake's concludes 50th-anniversary year with record-setting $1.75 million pop culture auction

20th anniversary marks record year for treasure found by the public

Fondazione Prada opens "The Prada Double Club Miami" by Carsten Höller

Five places you can see the Mona Lisa - that you might not expect

Milestone to auction personal art/antiques collection of veteran dealer the late Charlie Schalebaum

Kerry James Marshall mural honoring 20 iconic women unveiled at the Chicago Cultural Center

Major artists donate works for auction in support of Help Refugees

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