Celebrity artist and painter Domingo Zapata has won widespread acclaim for his many depictions of the Mona Lisa and claims that the secret to his success is due to the ‘romantic and sexual’ relationship he shares with the famous painting.
Yep, you read that correctly.
One of Leonardo DiCaprio’s favourite artists, Spanish-born Zapata recently found fame after 26 of his digital re-interpretations of the Mona Lisa were put on display at The Louvre in Paris alongside the original version of the iconic Leonardo da Vinci portrait.
But during the process of putting together the project, Domingo claims he became so obsessed with the Mona Lisa that he would dream about her every night and have 'sex with her in his dreams'.
In a recent interview with The Sun, Domingo said his love affair with Mona Lisa has helped turn him into one of the world's most in demand artists for the rich and famous, and elaborated on his unusual fixation.
"I have been working with Mona Lisa for 15 years. When I was painting her so much, I would dream and I have a sexual relationship with her.
"You cannot stop where it's taking you - It's about touch, feelings, being naked. As an artist the relationship with the canvas is intimate.
"The more you open up, the more risk the more you take - the more you express yourself.
"It does become an obsession when you are into a topic and you want to explore it more and more."
Domingo also claims that his relationship with the painting was known to others, and that he was even confronted about it by none other than Pablo Picasso’s granddaughter.
"Diana Picasso, who is an art expert and a good friend of mine, asked me in the studio: 'Are you dreaming about her... are you having sex with her?'" he recalled.
"And I'm like: 'Of course I am having sex with her in my dreams. If I was not having sex with her I would have quit a long time ago."
He laughs of his unusual romance: "It is almost one of those toxic relationships that never goes away.
"You keep going back to it and you cannot move on even after 100 versions. I am working on one right now. It's a mess."
Domingo claims that when The Louvre initially approached him with an offer to display his work alongside the original, he thought it was a joke.
But he was soon filled with immense pride knowing his work was considered good enough to stand alongside da Vinci’s masterpiece.
"Obviously it is a big honour. My reality exceeded my dreams, and I am grateful."
He also says that the whole process has helped him to better understand da Vinci on a personal level, and said: "Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa, aged 48, and travelled across Europe, working on it for years before King Francis bought it.
"Even then it wasn't ready, but he never really finished it. I am 47 and I understand the journey.
"He tried it many times, but he wasn't convinced about this piece ever. Mona Lisa got to him, like it got to everyone else - me included.
"Maybe it is meant to be unfinished"Featured Image Credit: Alamy