Scientist Claims To Find Hidden Portrait Beneath ‘Mona Lisa’


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Source: Courtesy Brinkworth Films

Source: Courtesy Brinkworth Films

The Mona Lisa, one of the most famous paintings in the world, may be hiding something underneath all of those beautiful layers.

Pascal Cotte, a French scientist, is claiming that the real portrait of the Mona Lisa is hidden underneath the masterpiece painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Cotte claims that there are three paintings beneath the surface of the Mona Lisa. One portrait is thought to be the “real portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, the woman thought to be the subject of the painting,” reported CNN Style. Lisa del Gioncodno may also be known as Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant.


Cotte, together with a team of scientists, used multispectral cameras to blast extreme lighting directly on to the painting while measuring the reflection it gave off. This technique helped to expose the layers and what may be between them.

“My scientific imagery technique (L.A.M.) takes us into the heart of the paint-layers of the world’s most famous picture and reveals secrets that have remained hidden for 500 years,” Cotte said in a statement. “The results shatter many myths and alter our vision of Leonardo’s masterpiece forever.”

The hidden masterpiece claims to “show a women looking into the distance, with no trace of the characteristic smile,” shared CNN Style.

The analysis, which took 10 years to complete, is leaving many art historians skeptical of the discovery and unsure if they should believe the claims Cotte is making. “There are considerable changes during the course of the making of the portrait — as is the case with most of Leonardo’s paintings. I prefer to see a fluid evolution from a relatively straightforward portrait of a Florentine women into a philosophical and poetic picture that has a universal dimension,” art historian Martin Kemp told CNN Style.

Whether it is true or not, the conversation of the discovery itself is making history.

“I have no doubt that this is definitely one of the stories of the century,” art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon told BBC. Graham-Dixon has made a BBC documentary titled, The Secret of the Mona Lisa, which will share more about the discovery. The documentary will air on BBC Two on December 9.

The Lourve Musuem in Paris, which claims home to the painting, declined to comment on the subject matter because they were not part of the scientific team.


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