It’s baffled both experts and admirers for centuries, but now Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous masterpiece the Mona Lisa appears to have given up more of its secrets.
Using specialist X-ray equipment scientists were able to see up to 30 layers of thin glaze and paint used by the Italian master.
Known as ‘sfumato’, the renaissance technique creates a unique hazy quality, achieving the illusion of depth and shadow.
Senior Researcher Phillipe Walter from France’s CNRS said: ‘‘We realise when glazed over, for instance on the ‘Mona Lisa’, that he managed to place layers as thin as one or two micrometres, which means one or two thousandths of a millimetre. By super-imposing the layers very progressively and slowly, he managed to create the effect he was seeking.’‘
But, while the researchers may have cracked the reason behind the Mona Lisa’s faultless skin, many mystery’s remain.
In particular, the enigmatic smile and what motivated Da Vinci to paint her in the first place.