Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) in the 16th century. The portrait continues to intrigue people and art historians, creating so many speculations that you do not know which is right or wrong.
Does it have to do with her secret smile or whether she had eyebrows? Almost every part of the painting has been scrutinized over the years, but whatever is revealed through various techniques may not be the real reason why Mona Lisa continues to bewitch. Maybe the painting needs to remain mysterious forever.
The intriguing painting
It took Leonardo da Vinci four years to finish the painting of the Mona Lisa. There were so many rumors regarding the identity of the model. Today, experts and historians agree that the model was Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine silk merchant. She was 24 at the time she sat for Da Vinci in 1503. The alternate name of the painting came from the married last name of the model.
Uncovering Mona Lisa’s secrets
The research of French engineer Pascal Cotte revealed about 25 secrets about the Mona Lisa painting. Pascal Cotte is the founder of Lumiere Technology, which developed a multispectral imaging camera that provides ultra-high definition scans of paintings. Because of his invention, the Louvre invited him to take photos of the Mona Lisa. As a result, he amassed 1,650 images of the painting, which took him several years to scrutinize.
His study revealed the Leonardo da Vinci created the painting using a different preparatory sketch. There were slight traces of charcoal underdrawing. It showed that the artist used the ”spolvero” technique to prick tiny holes along a drawing’s outline and transfer the cartoon to the canvas using charcoal dust.
According to Cotte, it was the first time that the spolvero technique showed in a famous painting. With the revelation, there is a possibility that a paper drawing of the Mona Lisa exists.
The multispectral camera revealed the following:
- The left eyebrow region has a single brush stroke.
- The right hand and wrist hold one side of the blanket draped over the model’s left forearm. The blanket covers the model’s stomach and knees.
- The infrared images showed the preparatory drawing, revealing that the artist made several adjustments to the painting’s composition.
- The veil was transparent. Da Vinci first painted the landscape and used transparency techniques so that landscape will show through the veil.
- The original painting showed that there was lace on Mona Lisa’s dress.
- Da Vinci changed his mind so there were changes in the position of the index and middle fingers of the left hand.
- Contrary to several speculations, Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa on an uncut poplar board.
- Many people thought that Mona Lisa was sick because of the blotches on the corner of one eye and her chin. Many claim that the Mona Lisa was a victim of domestic violence, pregnant, or has dental problems.
- The infrared images showed these were spots of varnish left in one of the painting’s many repairs and restoration work.
While modern technology revealed the secrets of the painting of Mona Lisa, the famous painting will continue to mesmerize and intrigue, which is part of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, who was years ahead of his time.
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