Over 500 years ago a man painted a woman. The man was Leonardo da Vinci , an Italian artist, inventor, genius, scientist, doctor and the result of his work was the portrait we now know as the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci spent almost a decade on it and it is one of the few works he actually finished.
Everyone knew this but probably very few know about the secrets behind this painting. Here, I enlist some of them…
- It is rather a small painting(77×53 cm), painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1504 and 1519 as by the request of Mona Lisa’s husband, Francesco Del Giocondo.
The trick behind the “happy” part of her smile is based on low spatial frequency pattern. So if you are not directly looking at her mouth, her smile looks cheerful. But when you look directly at her smile, parts of it would disappear into the background. As a result, you’re never quite sure if she’s smiling or not.
- Her eyes were drawn in such a way that they literally follow you when you move around. This is an optical illusion that can be achieved by special painting technique, “Silberblick” in Germany.
- There are also letters and numbers which can be seen very faintly in Mona Lisa’s eyes. The right eye features the letters “LV”, which more than likely stands for Leonardo da Vinci and the symbols in the left eye are a little harder to make out, but they appear to be the letters “CE” or the letter “B”.
- Most people seem to live under the false assumption that Mona Lisa didn’t have eyebrows. But that’s not right. The painting originally had eyebrows and eyelashes but as time went by both of them eroded to the point where they aren’t even visible anymore.
- Another thing most people don’t know is that there are actually two Mona Lisa’s (another is the Isleworth Mona Lisa). It was also drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, the master himself.
No one really knows why he drew another but most believe that he drew the second one so that he can have one for himself (he drew the original Mona Lisa for an Italian nobleman) and so he practiced all his techniques on it , to make sure that the original Mona Lisa will end up looking perfect.
- The math principle used in this painting is the ‘golden ratio’ which has been used as the guiding principle for many pieces of ancient art and engineering, including the Pyramids of Giza and da Vinci’s own rendition of The Last Supper.
- Mirroring two halves of the painting and then adding subsequent layers and colours we can see the image of Alien and estimation of it being just above three feet tall.
- In the arch of the bridge in the background the number 72 can be seen. Or it might be an L and the number 2. Whatever, we don’t know what all these letters and numbers mean, but they’re definitely there, mysteriously hidden for over 500 years.
- The painting was stolen in 1911 by an employee of the museum, but it was recovered two years later.
- This painting has stood against at vandalism as well. It was damaged in 1956 near the left elbow, when someone threw a rock at it and in the same year another vandal threw acid at the bottom half, severely damaging the masterpiece.
- In 1963, the Mona Lisa was appraised at $100 million for insurance purposes and the room that currently houses and protects the Mona Lisa costs $7.5 million to construct.
- Leonardo Da Vinci died having never sold what was to become one of the world’s most famous paintings.