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It would be easy to blame author Dan Brown and his blockbuster book and subsequent movie, “The Da Vinci Code”, for renewed public interest in the mysteries surrounding the world’s most famous portrait.
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 portrait’s subject.
There are numerous theories about Mona Lisa’s identity, and more than a dozen others from Da Vinci’s time are thought to have been the sitter for the portrait, including the revered artist’s male assistant (and, some say, possible lover), Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, better known as Salai. With Da Vinci himself writing little about the painting, researchers have relied on other clues instead, including the painting’s name, that the woman is Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who lived near Da Vinci. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. One of the charms of the world's most famous painting is that she appears radiant one moment and then serious and sardonic the next.
Depending on what cells picks up the image first depends on what channel they are sent to the brian for interpreting. Artist Ron Piccirillo claims he found the heads of a lion, an ape and a buffalo hovering in the air in the background of the Mona Lisa, after turning the painting on its side.
New York artist Ron Piccirillo is claiming to have unlocked the secrets behind one of the most mysterious faces in history - Mona Lisa.

Piccirillo argues that several animals can be seen hidden in the painting when it is set horizontally. The animals led Piccirillo to Leonardo da Vinci's journals and a few passages that mention the animals he sees. One of the passages that references "her heart gnawed by a swelling serpent" also says, "Give her a leopard's skin, because this creature kills the lion out of envy and by deceit." Though the passage does not mention the "Mona Lisa" specifically, Piccirillo said he believes the references to the serpent and the lion lead back to the painting and back to the woman with the infamous smile. Piccirillo said he believes that Mona Lisa was not an actual person, but, rather, symbolic of the human trait of envy.
Members of the art community do not necessarily agree with Piccirillo's sense of the importance of his discovery.
Lincoln called the theory "problematic" and said that the interpretation may have more to do with the viewer than the painting itself.
Lincoln also noted that da Vinci's journals themselves are fragmentary and were put back together after his death. The novel imagines all sorts of keys in the artist’s work that unlock mysteries of the ages. 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 “Monna Lisa”—or “Lady Lisa”—is how the woman would have been addressed in her time. The Rochester graphic designer and painter said a lion, ape and buffalo can be seen around Mona Lisa's head and a snake or crocodile is near her right shoulder. He also believes that his discovery will be important to an art community that has been puzzled by the painting for centuries. She pointed out that the image people are looking at is not the original painting and that even the original has been worn down by time, with crack and oil. But even before Brown published his fictional tome, Mona Lisa has been an object of scrutiny for 500 years as scholars have tried to find answers to questions raised by the masterpiece. Moreover, the painting is called La Gioconda in Italian and La Joconde in French, both meaning a happy or jovial person. His team used software to track where in the painting 20 volunteers gazed while they rated whether or not Mona Lisa's smile became more or less apparent.

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