Mona Lisa’s secret in face & smile

What is the secret of Mona Lisa’s face and smile? Why we don’t see any brush stroke making her face look smooth and almost smokey?

Philippe Walter and his team at the Louvre in Paris have now examined the faces of seven paintings signed by the master with a new non-invasive X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy technique. As the scientists report Mona Lisa’s secret lies in many whisper-thin layers of a transparent glaze. “Neither brush stroke nor contour is visible: lights and shades are blended in the manner of smoke,” says Walter. The details of how the sfumato technique worked have not been determined before.

And this is the ultimate secret of Mona Lisa’s face: the darker areas arose because a manganese-containing layer was applied more thickly than in the lighter areas. The underlying layers containing lead white are equally thick all over. The long drying time of the individual layers, lasting weeks and months, explains why Da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for over four years, leaving the painting unfinished, according to texts from the Renaissance period.

Next time we visit Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris we can enjoy this master piece of Da Vinci even better.

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Blog : The Special One

Blog : The Special One