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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 June, 2005, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Mona Lisa's stare puts diners off
Roy Guy and his interpretation of the Mona Lisa
Many people said that although her smile was enigmatic they felt her eyes were watching you all the time
Hospital spokesman
It wasn't the enigmatic smile of a Mona Lisa portrait that put diners at a south Wales hospital off their food, but her ever-seeing stare.

Managers at the Chepstow Community Hospital were forced to remove an interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting after complaints.

Diners said they were put off their food by her eyes which appeared to 'follow you around the room'.

The artist who painted the picture has replaced it with a different painting.

Roy Guy, a Newport-based artist, had created his own version of da Vinci's famous painting and it had been hung over the main entrance to the hospital, where some staff and visitors eat their lunches.

But some were said to be put off their sandwiches by her stare.

Julian Hayman, a spokesman for the hospital said there were complaints the picture was "too gloomy".

"We decided to ask Roy to replace the picture after a number of patients and visitors said the picture was too depressing," he said.

"Chepstow Community Hospital has a very light and optimistic feel to it and this picture was just a bit too gloomy for such a new building.

"The fact that it was such a big picture didn't help and many people said that although her smile was enigmatic they felt her eyes were watching you all the time.

Roy Guy's interpretation of the Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa sits in front of Snowdon in the painting

"We hope everyone is happier with Roy's new picture," he added.

And the artist himself said he was "highly amused" with the reaction his painting had on people.

"I thought it was one of the funniest things I had heard," he said.

"It's nice to get some honest reaction.

"It's very funny that people asked for a picture of one of the greatest artworks in the world to be taken down because it was putting them off their dinners.

"But they are right, her eyes do follow you around the room."

Mr Guy, who does not sell his paintings but allows them to be hung on loan in public places, said that his version of the Mona Lisa had a Welsh theme.

"The background is Snowdon, so she is the Welsh Mona Lisa.

"And I like the reaction I've had to it because it takes the seriousness out of art," he added.

A new picture, A Lament for Dic Penderyn, is now hanging in place of the Welsh Mona Lisa.

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