Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting has intrigued many casual art observers and fans alike. The iconic painting continues to fascinate many people with its mysterious “Easter eggs” that are still being discovered today. A scientist by the name of Pascal Cotte recently discovered a sketch beneath da Vinci’s legendary artwork after studying the painting for over 15 years.
“The Louvre invited me because I am the inventor of a new very high-resolution, highly sensitive multispectral camera,”Pascal Cotte via Artnet News.
After examining roughly 1,650 images of the portrait, Cotte’s findings were published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage in August 2020. The scientist developed a high-tech instrument called the Lumiere Technology camera which detects light reflected on 13 wavelengths. The technique intensifies the abilities of infrared photography, allowing researchers to analyze even the smallest details the painting hides.
Cotte’s device has found underlying charcoal lines in the lighter areas of the painting through a mix of near-infrared photography and infrared reflectography.
“The optical system allows us to see very fine details and the high sensitivity allows a very high amplification of low signal. The spolvero on the forehead and on the hand betrays a complete underdrawing.”
Cotte’s examining also shows charcoal underlines revealing a hairpin that was drawn above the woman’s head. This hairstyle was uncommon in Florence, Italy at the time where da Vinci painted the renowned work which suggests that da Vinci’s original muse could’ve been a portrayal of an “unreal woman, like a goddess,” explained Cotte.
“People had to be dressed in certain ways to denote their profession and for nobility respecting the colors. It is not possible for Mona Lisa to have hair like this, it was impossible of the time in the city of Florence.”