World Renowned Micro Sculptor And Art Forger Replicate Mona Lisa
Identical Mona Lisa Forgery With The World’s Smallest Version In Her Eye
VeryFirstTo exclusively announces Mona Lisa: Secret In The Eye. Thanks to the most remarkable artist collaboration of the decade between world renowned art forger John Myatt and Willard Wigan the greatest living micro sculptor, we and Trinity House are exclusively offering for sale a stunning identical forgery of the Mona Lisa with a version, the size of a full stop, in her eye.
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 purchase through VeryFirstTo at £1,000,000 ($1,252,200/ €1,118,000). It is also exhibited at, and can be bought through Trinity House Paintings Gallery, London, Mayfair. It will be exhibited in its New York Gallery in the near future.
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 miniscule of canvases.
John Myatt is a world famous forger whose work has confounded experts and sold in Christies and Sotheby’s. 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
Signed by both artists on reverse of painting.
Willard Wigan MBE
Born in 1957 in Wolverhampton, Willard Wigan began his artistic life at a tender age. Suffering from dyslexia and learning difficulties, Wigan struggled at school. To escape the constant taunts from his teachers and student peers, Wigan found solace and peace in creating art of such minute proportions that it could not be seen with the naked eye. He adopted the belief that if his work could not be seen, then it and he could not be criticised. Often described as nothing, Wigan set about to show the world that nothing did not exist.
“My work is a reflection of myself,” says Wigan. “I wanted to show the worlds that the little things can be the biggest things. At school, I couldn’t express myself and felt like ‘nothing.’ I wanted to experiment with the world that we can’t see.”
Today, the internationally renowned micro artist is known for sculpting the world’s smallest works of art, and has been so celebrated in the Guinness Book of World records.
The personal sacrifice involved in creating such wondrous, yet scarcely available pieces is inconceivable to most. Wigan enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce hand tremors and sculpt between pulse beats.
Wigan’s work has been described as “the eighth wonder of the world”. It is fitting that the boy who was told he would amount to nothing was, in 2007, honoured by HRH Prince Charles with an MBE for his services to art.
Along with the ever increasing individual and corporate collectors of his artwork, in 2009, Wigan’s artistic genius was formally recognised by the world-leading Technology, Entertainment and Design institute, (TED) where he was invited to be the keynote speaker during the 2009 World Conference, receiving with it a TED achievement award.
More recently, Wigan's work has featured in global advertising campaigns for ANZ Bank, Australia and in 2012, Willard was commissioned to replicate the Coronation Crown in celebration of HRH Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. The delivered artwork is now housed at Buckingham Palace.
Following his late mothers guiding advice, Wigan continues to challenge himself by striving to make each work even smaller - “The smaller your work, the bigger your name.”
Wigan’s continued goal remains quite simple; to inspire others with his micro-sculptures and to encourage others to live to their fullest potential, remembering that nothing does not exist.
John was born in Staffordshire in 1945.
He went to Art School at Stafford and Cheltenham and went on to teach at Blackpool College of Art and Lichfield School of Art.
After a conviction for Art Fraud he spent four months in Brixton Prison in 1999.
He has since conducted workshops at Cambridge University Summer School, St John’s College Oxford, a Sotheby’s Art Fraud Conference and has made several programmes for Sky ArtsTelevision .
He currently runs Genuine Fakes with his wife Rosemary and has customers and collectors all over the world.
Next year (2018) John has been invited to give a lecture and illustrated talk at The San Diego Museum of Art.
Trinity House Paintings
Trinity House Paintings is an international art dealership. It specialises in Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Modern British,19th Century works and contemporary works. The company has a strong reputation for the quality of the artworks that it exhibits and offers to clients, be they paintings, drawings or sculptures.
Trinity House has become a major player in the UK and global art world. Originating in the picturesque Cotswolds village of Broadway, Trinity House Paintings expanded into Mayfair, London in 2009, and in 2011 opened a third gallery in Manhattan, New York. Having these three locations, in addition to exhibiting at the major international art fairs in Europe and the US has allowed the company to have personal relationships with our clients across the globe.
Trinity House acts on behalf of private collectors, interior designers and museums, as well as other interested customers, advising on every aspect of sourcing, buying, selling and maintaining fine art. It recognises that clients need not only to be offered fine paintings and works of art, but also to be provided with expert, straightforward advice on buying art and building a collection. Its aim is to make the market approachable by acting as guides through the various aspects involved in buying and selling art.
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