Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mona Lisa's Eyebrows

Who the hell ever heard of an Italian brunette with no eyebrows? There's no such thing. Which is why Leonardo's Mona Lisa looks so damn weird.

But now, perhaps, there is an explanation. Engineer/inventor Pascal Cotte has analyzed the painting using 13 color filters from ultraviolet to infrared wavelengths, and has created a 22 gigabyte image that shows what is hidden under 500 years' worth of dirt and discoloration.

Here's the big news though:
The world's most famous painting originally included both brows and lashes, according to Parisian engineer Pascal Cotte, who says his 240-megapixel scans of the painting reveal traces of Mona Lisa's left brow, obliterated by long-ago restoration efforts.

"And if you look closely at the eye of 'Mona Lisa' you can clearly see that the cracks around the eye have slightly disappeared, and that may be explained that one day a curator or restorer cleaned the eye, and...probably removed the eyelashes and eyebrow," he said.
Whew. We thought she had alopecia or something.

We are impressed with Cotte's dedication, even as some scholars question his findings. But instead of all that fancy lighting and camera equipment, couldn't he just have used MRI (Magnetic Renaissance Imaging)?

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