In 2004, scientists from Canada’s National Research Council used 3-D imaging to scan the famous painting which has darkened immensely since it was painted by Leonardo in 1507. Under layers of varnish which have obscured many details including her eyebrows, the Canadian scans found a lightly painted transparent bodice over her neckline of the type worn by new mothers in Renaissance Italy. Though the scanning cannot say exactly who she was, such information helps support the theory that Mona Lisa is the Florentine Lisa Gherardini who posed after giving birth to her second son. The scientists also found a small cap on the back of her head which is a good thing as loose hair was a sign of an immoral woman.(1)
In 2006, French engineer Pascal Cotte and his company Lumiere Technology used multispectral digitization to once again see under the years of grime and varnish on the world’s most famous painting. Their ‘true color’ Mona Lisa has a brilliant blue sky which must have cost Leonardo quite a bit as lapis lazuli pigment was extraordinarily expensive back in the day. The French company also found a single drop of twentieth century orange paint in the clouds above Mona Lisa but cannot confirm how it got there. (2)
|Lumiere Technology's scan|
|Dr. Matsumi Suzuki|
(1) “NRC Scientists Discover Mona Lisa Secrets”. CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. Canada.com. 20/08/09. http://www.canada.com/topics/technology/science/story.html?id=dd098037-dce6-4a6d-90de-88ccc05c9e57&k=96188
(2) “True Colors of the Mona Lisa Revealed”. October 19, 2006. Lumiere Technology. 20/08/09. http://www.lumiere-technology.com/Pages/News/news3.htm(3) Freire, Carl. "In Japan, Scientists Recreate Mona Lisa's Voice". 2006. Art Info. Associated Press. 20/08/09.