A French scientist claims to have discovered a hidden portrait beneath Leonardo Da Vinci’s most celebrated masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
Pascal Cotte, the co-founder of Lumiere Technology in Paris, says he has used reflective light technology to uncover an image of another woman, who is looking off to the side and not smiling, in contrast to the Mona Lisa’s direct and enigmatic gaze.
The change in the woman posing for the painting could be the key to a totally different history behind the portrait, he says.
Andrew Graham-Dixon, who made the BBC documentary, said he had no doubt that “this is definitely one of the stories of the century”.
“There will probably be some reluctance on the part of the authorities at the Louvre in changing the title of the painting because that’s what we’re talking about – it’s goodbye Mona Lisa, she is somebody else,” he said.
The Louvre Museum, where the Mona Lisa hangs, has declined to comment on the claims, while some art historians are skeptical about the Mr Cotte’s discovery.
“It’s perfectly common for an artist to overpaint an image as it is for a client who’s commissioned that artist to ask for changes. So it’s not surprising that there are those underpaintings on the Mona Lisa,” said Will Gompertz, the BBC’s Arts Editor, who claimed that the “data that the technology generates is open to interpretation”.
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