Naked Mona Lisa goes on show

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A naked portrayal of the Mona Lisa, which was once attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, forms one of the highlights of the biggest exhibition ever held on the Renaissance genius.

The mysterious portrait of a semi-nude woman, looking straight at the viewer with an enigmatic smile and with her hands crossed, bears a remarkable resemblance to Leonardo's world famous painting.

Hidden for almost a century within the panelled walls of a library, the portrait appears to have been inspired by the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris and was painted by the Italian master in the early 1500s.

It will form one of the centrepieces of a new exhibition at the Museo Ideale in the Tuscan town of Vinci, near Florence, where da Vinci was born in 1452.

The naked portrait once belonged to Napoleon's ambassador to the Vatican, Cardinal Joseph Fesch, and was rediscovered after being hidden inside the walls of his private library for nearly a century..

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