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article imageMona Lisa's eyes may reveal identity of famous model

By Kim I. Hartman     Dec 14, 2010 in World
Paris - An Italian researcher has sparked controversy over the world's most famous painting with claims that Leonardo da Vinci painted tiny letters into the eyes of the Mona Lisa which may finally reveal a secret code that will identify the model.
Highly magnified images of the painting reportedly reveal tiny letters embedded into the "Mona Lisa's" eyes, according to a report in the UK Guardian.
"Invisible to the naked eye and painted in black on green-brown are the letters LV in her right pupil, obviously Leonardo's initials, but it is what is in her left pupil that is far more interesting," said Silvano Vinceti, chairman of Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage.
"It is very difficult to make them out clearly, but they appear to be the letters CE, or it could be the letter B," Vinceti added. Vinceti added that the letters B or S, or possibly the initials CE, were discernible, a vital clue to identifying the model who sat for the Renaissance artist. She has often been named as Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant, but Vinceti disagreed, claiming Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa in Milan.
The announcement will follow claims that arose this summer following analysis of da Vinci's paintings by experts at the Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France, who found that da Vinci painted using many different methods, as well as using up to 30 layers of paint in his works, which include the Mona Lisa, reported Digital Journal.
Silvano Vinceti began his research by avoiding the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile and instead gazed deep into her eyes with the help of high-resolution images to arrive at his theory that the letters provide a clue into the identity of the model who posed for da Vinci's masterpiece -- a mystery that has puzzled art historians for centuries, reported AOL news.
"On the back of the painting are the numbers '149', with a fourth number erased, suggesting he painted it when he was in Milan in the 1490s, using as a model a woman from the court of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan," said Vinceti, who claimed earlier this year that he had identified the lost remains of the painter Michelangelo da Caravaggio, said the Guardian.
"Leonardo was keen on symbols and codes to get messages across, and he wanted us to know the identity of the model using the eyes, which he believed were the door to the soul and a means for communication," said Vinceti.
Vinceti, who will offer his conclusions about this new research next month and said it all began after a colleague found a decades-old book that referred to the letters in "Mona Lisa's" eyes.
More about Mona lisa, Leonardo vinci, Davinci, Silvano vinceti, Art
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