For centuries, the "Mona Lisa", the world’s most famous painting, has been shrouded in mystery. There has been much debate as to its origin and meaning. Many have also speculated as to what kind of hidden references Da Vinci may have worked into the portrait. A French inventor has found some intriguing secrets about the beloved painting.
Parisian engineer Pascal Cotte used an ultra-detailed digital scanning device he invented to delve into the layers of paint, allowing him to "look" into the past of Leonardo Da Vinci's 16th-century portrait.
One puzzle for art buffs is why the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows or lashes. But Cotte found that the world's most famous painting actually did originally included both brows and lashes. He used his 240-megapixel scans of the painting to reveal lost features of the painting that were obliterated by long-ago restoration efforts.
"With just one photo you go deeper into the construction of the painting and understand that Leonardo was a genius," Cotte said.
Growing up in Paris in the 1960s, Cotte said, he would spend hours staring at the "Mona Lisa". He later used his scientific training in light and optics to develop a camera that would let him more fully examine his favorite painting.
Cotte, 49, estimates he has spent 3,000 hours analyzing the data from the scans he made of the painting in the Louvre's laboratory three years ago. Using sensors to detect light from both the visible spectrum and the infrared and ultraviolet ranges invisible to the human eye, Cotte said, his camera allowed him to make these and other findings:
- Da Vinci changed his mind about the position of two fingers on the subject's left hand.
- Her face was originally wider and the smile more expressive than Da Vinci ultimately painted them.
- She holds a blanket that has now almost completely faded from view.
Posted by Rebecca Sato. Image credit: Marcia Jose Sanchez/AP.
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