The Mona Lisa originally had eyebrows, according to a French art expert who has analysed Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece with a special camera。
Pascal Cotte said da Vinci built the painting up in layers, the last being a special glaze whose optical properties increased the illusion of a three-dimensional face. Above the glaze Da Vinci painted details such as the eyebrows。
Cottesaid: "That could explain why the eyebrows have disappeared – they have faded because of chemical reactions or they have been cleaned off."
He has uncovered a host of secrets about the Mona Lisa using a 240 megapixel camera. It can measure light so sensitively as to see throughthe top paint surface and uncover the layers below。
For example, infra-red imaging shows da Vinci moved the position of a finger on the left hand"to give a more relaxed position, consistent with the smile", Cottesaid。
He said the Mona Lisa looked "totally different" 500 years ago, when it had a blue sky and the subject’s skin had not yellowed。
Theunderlying layers of the face - painted using lead white and mercuryver million - also show it was wider than the end result appears。
"The smile, the glance, the face were all wider," said Cotte。
Butda Vinci did not change his mind half way through, he said. On top ofthe base layers the artist added a glazed shadowing layer to create athree dimensional effect。
"I do not say that he was successful, in reproducing a stereo-vision effect, but if you want to achieve that this is the best way to do it," said Cotte。
"But now it looks totally different to how he painted it. All the optical effects have disappeared."
He said that for da Vinci the Mona Lisa was "more than a painting, it was a challenge to reproduce real life"。