We are delighted to announce the ‘Mona Lisa: Secret in the Eye’, this fascinating piece combines world renowned micro sculptor, Willard Wigan and world famous art forger, John Myatt. Taking an identical forgery of the Mona Lisa with a microscopic version in her eye, painted with an eyelash! We will be showcasing the artwork at our Mayfair gallery, you can also view online with VeryFirstTo where it’s available for purchase.
We were joined with guests and the artists behind its creation for the unveiling of this incredible piece tonight, it certainly left us all in awe of what was thought impossible. Take a look behind the scenes with exclusive images and the story behind it all… don’t forget to join us in Mayfair to view it for yourself. Ends Wednesday 30th August!
They had never met, yet reports of a secret code being discovered in the eyes of the world’s most famous painting, simultaneously ignited the imagination of two audacious artists and marked the start of the journey that has resulted in the most remarkable artist collaboration of the decade. Hailed as ‘the world’s finest living art forger’ John Myatt has painted an indistinguishable version of the original Mona Lisa, and ‘the greatest micro sculptor on earth’ Willard Wigan MBE has created its smallest replica that features in her eye – painted with the hair of a fly.
Mona Lisa: Secret In The Eye is available to view online, and purchase through, luxury launches website VeryFirstTo.com<http://VeryFirstTo.com> at £1,000,000 ($1,252,200/ €1,118,000). It is also exhibited at, and available for purchase at, our Mayfair gallery.
Interesting Read – You can also see the Evening Standard’s feature on this piece here
From the immaculately carved frame (by world-respected Tim Haysell of Kingswood Frames), to the globally recognised enigmatic smile and follow-you eyes, this totally authentic-looking portrait reproduces the painting’s outstanding beauty. The microscopic rendering of the portrait measures under 1mm squared. One can just about detect, with the naked eye, that Mona Lisa’s right pupil has something within it. However, one can only establish that this spec in the eye is, in fact, a miniature portrait of the Mona Lisa with the assistance of a strong magnifier. Wigan, who has to go into a trance-like meditative state to slow down his nervous system so he can work between heartbeats, has somehow managed to capture the protagonist’s distinctive features on the most minuscule of canvases.
John Myatt is a world famous forger, his paintings mimicking the likes of Bissiere, Chagall, and Matisse have fetched considerable prices. From talented chart-topping songwriter and art teacher, Myatt went to prison for being involved in “the biggest art fraud of the 20th century”, where he was called Picasso. He now paints on the right side of the law and his ‘Legitimate Fakes’ are collected by fans around the globe, and he even works alongside law enforcement helping to expose fraudsters. Myatt is also no stranger to the screen: in his TV show Fame in the Frame he paints celebrities in the style of a famous artist, including Stephen Fry in the style of Velázquez; and a Hollywood film is in development about Myatt’s case.
Willard Wigan’s work is often many times smaller than the full stop at the end of this sentence and is frequently displayed within the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin. Suffering from severe dyslexia as a child he was ridiculed by both teachers and fellow pupils. Instead of attending school, he hid in a shed where he befriended ants and, thinking they needed somewhere to live, made miniature homes and furniture for them. Wigan now works aided by a microscope with 600-times magnification using tools he has had to fashion himself including a shard of diamond attached to the end of a pin. His entire collection of work can fit on a cent piece and include a sculpture carved out of a single grain of sand. Owners of his work include Cameron Diaz (No), Elton John, Simon Cowell and Mike Tyson. The artist was honoured with an MBE by HRH The Prince of Wales in July 2007 for his services to art.
Willard Wigan MBE says: “Mona Lisa: Secret In The Eye is the most remarkable project I have been involved with. Executing this portrait required my using microscopic amounts of specially formulated rapidly drying paint applied with a hair from a fly, so I had to work quickly on each feature yet with pinpoint accuracy. Too much paint on the hair and the whole painting can be swallowed and weeks of work destroyed. I sculpted the frame from 24 carat gold.”
John Myatt says “Whilst I have been associated with various extremely newsworthy pieces of art, this must be the most noteworthy of them all. I managed to create an authentic copy of the Mona Lisa through a freehand but painstaking reconstruction of Leonardo’s working methods particularly his use of Sfumato glazing which softened the transitions within the features and the outline. Later a specialised varnishing technique was applied to recreate a deep cracking of the paint surface very close to the original.”
Dimensions of Mona Lisa: Secret In The Eye: 77 x 53 cms
Dimensions of Micro Portrait: Less than 1mm squared
Details: Signed by both artists on reverse of painting.