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Alternative Art Classic Found In Attic

Published on April 1st 2005.

The art world was today reeling from the shock discovery of a long-lost Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece, dubbed the 'Mona Garner'.

The painting is thought to date from around the same time as the legendary Mona Lisa, and carries many similarities to the famous picture.

It appears Da Vinci was unhappy with the picture and hid it in rags before painting the Mona Lisa instead. Hand-written notes found on the back of the picture tell of Da Vinci's disgust at the "hideous face staring like a gargoyle from the canvas".

Mona Garner

Experts have named the picture 'Mona Garner', or alternatively 'Moaner Garner', as it clearly depicts the famously miserable Mark Garner, one of Da Vinci's lovers.

Throughout his life Da Vinci surrounded himself with beautiful young men and women, but in the case of Garner, it appears the artist may have been wearing his 'wine goggles'.

With Mark lacking Mona Lisa's good looks or enigmatic smile, the opinions of the world's art critics are split over the painting's merits.

"It is so repulsive I can hardly look at it" said influential British art expert Rufus Farquar. French critic Francois Lafayette was more generous in his comments, hailing the picture as "a long-lost Da Vinci masterpiece".

The painting was discovered in the attic of an old Milanese warehouse, where it appears to have been left untouched for at least 100 years. Fillipe Creativo, who discovered it, said he couldn't believe his eyes when he unwrapped the painting from the rags that had been covering it.

"I recognised immediately that it was a Da Vinci; it looks so similar to the Mona Lisa" he told the Italian press yesterday. "But when I looked closely at the horrible facial features, I could see straight away why he rejected it".

Despite the "ugly face", the painting is likely to raise in excess of £100m when it goes to auction later this year.

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