Mona Lisa has been an object of scrutiny for 500 years as scholars have tried to find answers to questions raised by the masterpiece.
Researchers are currently lifting and testing bone sets from an Italian convent in hopes of identifying the remains of Lisa Gherardini, whom many believe to be the portraita€™s subject. There are numerous theories about Mona Lisaa€™s identity, and more than a dozen others from Da Vincia€™s time are thought to have been the sitter for the portrait, including the revered artista€™s male assistant (and, some say, possible lover), Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, better known as SalaA¬.
With Da Vinci himself writing little about the painting, researchers have relied on other clues instead, including the paintinga€™s name, that the woman is Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who lived near Da Vinci. For the academics at University of Heidelberg in Germany, the mystery was solved in the mid-aughts, when someone discovered handwritten marginalia in a book from 1503 that belonged to one of Da Vincia€™s friends. In the last decade, the 500th anniversary of the paintinga€™s creation, the Mona Lisa has been laser scanned, examined with infrared light and digitally dissected to extract some of the secrets she might be hiding.
Other experiments have been conducted to discern more information from the painting and its anomalies. To assess Mona Lisaa€™s emotion on a more scientific level, Dutch researchers from the University of Amsterdam in 2005 used a€?emotion recognitiona€? software to determine the subjecta€™s mood. Other tests have determined that Da Vinci originally painted Mona Lisa wearing a bonnet and clutching the arm of the chair she is sitting in, as if she is about to rise from the seat.A Others still have been perplexed by the paintinga€™s background, even going so far as to surmise that Da Vinci might have been creating images-within-an-image, not much different from the hidden objects that youngsters might search for in a Highlights magazine puzzle. Did Leonardo Da Vinci intend to create so many questions that would be debated for centuries? The absence of eyebrows on Mona Lisa are just another aspect of the painting that has proved vexing for other academics. The manifold mysteries surrounding the Mona Lisa may never be solved, but as technology advances, she seems to reveal more secrets that have been kept for more than five centuries. Some people still have been perplexed by the paintinga€™s background, even going so far as to surmise that Da Vinci might have been creating images-within-an-image, not much different from the hidden objects that youngsters might search for in a Highlights magazine puzzle.


As one Da Vinci enthusiast believes, the portrait reveals a question mark when viewed upside down. When Terrence Masson, a graphic designer at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., used computer technology to search for hidden messages in Leonardoa€™s masterworks, he discovered a Darth Vader-like image. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Those involved with the project to exhume her remains and use the skull to reconstruct her face say it will prove with more certainty that Mona Lisa is who they think she is, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant. Scholars explain that the term a€?Monna Lisaa€?a€”or a€?Lady Lisaa€?a€”is how the woman would have been addressed in her time.
The technique is thought to have created an illusion of the a€?enigmatic smilea€? that disappears pending on the viewera€™s vantage point. In MITa€™s journal, Leonardo, physicist Diogo Queiros-Conde takes a scientific approach to the phenomenon.
Digital analysis has revealed that Da Vincia€™s facial characteristics and those of the woman in the painting are almost perfectly aligned with one another. The technology demonstration in cooperation with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign determined the capricious smile to be 83 percent happy, 9 percent disgusted, 6 percent fearful, 2 percent angry, less than 1 percent neutral, and 0 percent surprised. Some say it would not be unusual for a woman of Lisa Gherardinia€™s status to pluck her eyebrows, as in the Renaissance a pronounced forehead was thought to convey intelligence. His observations also describe a€?hiddena€? images of an ape, lion, horse and other creatures in the much-analyzed artwork. The small portrait painted on poplar wood has remained a national treasure in France and is one of the most recognized images in the world.


Moreover, the painting is called La Gioconda in Italian and La Joconde in French, both meaning a happy or jovial person.
In the nanoseconds that it takes for the viewera€™s eyes to shift from the subjecta€™s eyes to the mouth, the smile seems to vanish. The blending of pigments around the eyes and mouth play a trick on the human eye, he explains. That was enough to convince at least one researcher that the image is actually Da Vinci in drag. Another theory is that the artist did in fact give the subject eyebrows and eyelashes, but they have faded or disintegrated over years due to cleanings, age and restorations.
Every year, more than six million people view the piece at the Louvre, in Paris, where it hangs behind bullet-proof glass.
When humans blink, less light filters to the retina and the eyes recognize various combinations of colors depending on the level of light. Still others say the missing eyebrows point to the fact that Da Vinci never completed the portrait.
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