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The Prado hopes the work will help further studies into the “Mona Lisa,” and says it reveals details and sketch lines no longer immediately apparent in the original.

Varnish has been removed from the face of the copy, making it brighter and younger than the face of the “Mona Lisa” coated with cracked, darkish varnish at the Paris museum.

Finaldi said part of the veil and braid are much clearer in the copy, having been obscured by varnish applied to the “Mona Lisa”.

The discovery is likely to further fuel debate over whether the Louvre’s “Mona Lisa” should be subject to further restoration or continue to be left alone.

One major difference from the original is that the figure in the copy has eyebrows and the Mona Lisa in the real masterpiece does not.

There are dozens of the surviving replicas of the masterpiece from the 16th and 17th centuries.