High-resolution image hints at 'Mona Lisa's' eyebrows

Posted Oct 18, 2007 by Chris V. Thangham
A French engineer has uncovered evidence about the eyebrows and eyelashes of the “Mona Lisa” painting by Leonardo da Vinci. He used a high-definition camera to prove his theory.
Pascal Cotte, a French engineer and inventor, designed a high-definition camera and analyzed the “Mona Lisa” to look for clues about they eyebrows and eyelashes. The device scanned a 240 million pixel image using 13 light spectrums with ranges including ultraviolet and infrared.
He reproduced the painting in the form of a high-definition photo of 150,000 dots per inch which magnified “Mona Lisa” painting by nearly 24 times. When he examined the photo, he saw a single brushstroke of a single hair just above the left brow. Thus, he says Leonardo da Vinci, in his original painting, had eyebrows and eye lashes.
Cotte said the reason the lashes are not seen today because of possible fading of color pigments used in the painting. He also gave another reason to the media: Poor cleaning of the painting over the years may have damaged the eyebrows and eye lashes.
As CNN reports:
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 cleaning the eye, removed, probably removed the eyelashes and eyebrow".
Cotte not only found eye lashes -- he also made other discoveries with the high-resolution image. The infrared layer of the image showed that fingers of the Mon Lisa’s left hand were originally painted in a slightly different position than in the final portrait. He said the model held a lap blanket, but in today’s image the blanket is obscured completely, the infrared scanning showed the faded pigment used to color the blanket. Many wondered why her fingers were in that position; Cotte’s analysis showed the model held a blanket with her wrists.
Cotte’s work also involved trying to restore the painting in its original configuration without the faded colors, they call it a “virtual” restoration. If he does that, the Mona Lisa painting will exhibit a different hue of colors.
When it comes to the famous “Mona Lisa” smile, he said it used to look wider than it appears today (even her face would have wider in the original version). He says it may be due to shrinkage of the fabric and the pigments.
When Da Vinci painted the “Mona Lisa” it seems he had been painting this for more than a decade -- almost until his death. He used to say that “Art is never finished, only abandoned”.
The results of Cotte’s study are on display at the Metreon in San Francisco, as part of the exhibit “Da Vinci: An Exhibition of Genius”. Maybe Lensman can check this one for us.
You can watch a video here.
In my opinion, with eyebrows and eyelashes, the painting would have been more beautiful. The mystery of the painting continues.