Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile huge in Wales

Oct. 30, 2009 at 12:47 AM
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WREXHAM, Wales, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- That enigmatic Mona Lisa smile, mystifying millions for centuries, has been unveiled in a Wales shopping mall, looming larger than ever, its creators said.

The copy at the Eagle Meadow Shopping Center in Wrexham, Wales, of Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting is 50 times bigger than the original, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The Wrexham Mona Lisa measures about 262 square yards, and 245 people worked on it and it took a total of 987 hours to paint.

''Because there's a balcony overlooking our Mona Lisa, people will have a spectacular view of her," said Katie Webster, the artist in charge of the project.

''Our Mona Lisa has a lot of advantages over the original," said Kevin Critchley, the shopping center's manager, who came up with the idea for the painting. "It's a lot bigger so she is much easier to see, admirers will not have to queue to make her acquaintance, there isn't any entry charge to Eagles Meadow, and unlike the version in Paris, you will be able to touch her."

The Wrexham Mona Lisa was painted by community groups, including a facility for disabled people, on dozens of segments that were then put together.

The project was created to raise funds for Hope House Children's Hospice, which assists terminally ill children and their families.

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