Look Familiar? For those of you who have seen the real thing, you may remember the Renaissaance-era frame that the Mona Lisa occupies at la Louvre. This is a fantastic section done as a test by Ian Agrell and his team in northern California. It's all hand carved poplar, and I think it's a great recreation of the original. Ian will be carving the frame, as I determined I was pretty inept as a wood carver. I want the frame to reflect the same concept as the painting. That is to say, I made an effort to get poplar panels to paint on, hand ground my own oil paints and tried to re-create Leonardo's technique. I originally was going to sculpt and cast the frame, but I want the frame to be as close to the original as possible, too. The frame that holds the Mona Lisa is a renaissance era frame that was all hand carved. In researching frames from that area and era. I determined that the frame is most likely hand carved poplar, which was either gold leafed or painted. Ian does beautiful work in recreating moldings of various types and took on the project as well. I'm looking forward to the final frame!
I found an incredible new supplier of lapis lazuli pigment, Master Pigments, who grind their own pigment from raw stones and refine according to Cennino Cennini's formula. The paint made from this pigment is AMAZING! I repainted the sky and started cleaning up areas of the dress. I've added in vermillion shadings in the face as well. I'll clean up SO much more in the final version of the painting. I also have glazed in highlights on the chest and face with lead white. I'll continue to develop the painting as I go.
I also have contracted with a master woodcarver to hand carve the frame! I should be getting a sample soon. I'll be sure to post pictures as soon as I get the sample carving!