The Mystery Behind Mona Liza’s Eyebrows

Thanks to modern technology, a 240 megapixel camera has somehow resolved the mystery behind Mona Lisa’s eyebrows. Leonardo Da Vinci’s renowned painting, the Mona Liza was examined a French art expert named, “Pascal Cotte.” Through a technical analysis of the photo, it was found out that Leonardo construct the painting in layers, of which the last core is a special glaze whose optical properties increased the illusion of a three-dimensional face. The eyebrow was painted in details above the glaze. Cotte said: “That could explain why the eyebrows have disappeared – they have faded because of chemical reactions or they have been cleaned off.”   The 240 camera megapixel camera measured the light so sensitively.  With that, it can penetrate with clarity the host of secrets about Mona Lisa from top paints down to other covered layers.

Mr. Cotte mentioned that the Mona Lisa looked “totally different” 500 years ago. Below were his examples:

• Infra-red imaging shows Leonardo moved the position of a finger on the left hand “to give a more relaxed position, consistent with the smile.”

• It had a blue sky and the subject’s skin had not yellowed.

• The underlying layers of the face – painted using lead white and mercury vermillion – also show it was wider than the end result appears.

• The smile, the glance, the face were all wider.

• On top of the base layers the artist added a glazed shadowing layer to create a three dimensional effect.

“I do not say that he was successful, in reproducing a stereo-vision effect, but if you want to achieve that this is the best way to do it,” said Cotte. “But now it looks totally different to how he painted it. All the optical effects have disappeared.”

He said that for Leonardo the Mona Lisa was “more than a painting, it was a challenge to reproduce real life”.

Cotte’s work is explained in an exhibition, The Secrets of the Mona Lisa that opens at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

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