Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Giant Mona Lisa goes on display

Yan Pei-Ming with his version of Mona Lisa
Pei-Ming has described his work as a 'homage' to Mona Lisa

A giant, grey version of the Mona Lisa with streaks of paint running down her face has gone on display at the Louvre museum, in Paris.

The work, by artist Yan Pei-Ming, forms the centrepiece of an exhibition entitled The Funeral of Mona Lisa.

It is being displayed in a room next to Leonardo da Vinci's original, as part of the Louvre's efforts to bring modern art face-to-face with old masterpieces.

Da Vinci's famous 16th century portrait is the museum's star attraction.

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Pei-Ming's work consists of five paintings, with the huge grey Mona Lisa in the centre.

It also features a portrait of Pei-Ming's dead father and a self-portrait of Pei-Ming in a deathlike pose.

The Chinese artist, who described the work as "a homage and a funeral" for Mona Lisa, is famous in contemporary art for his portraits of 20th century icons, such as Bruce Lee.

He is not the first artist to have used Da Vinci's masterpiece as the basis for their own works.

Dadaist painter Marcel Duchamp gave her a moustache and a goatee, while Andy Warhol created pop art serigraph prints of her.

It is the first time a contemporary work inspired by the Mona Lisa has gone on display so close to the original.

The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday and runs until 18 May.

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