Mona Lisa, Engineering, and Discovery

Hey guys! This week I wanted to talk about some art news that I came across. It’s about  one of the most adored and well-known paintings, which is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. One debate, out of many, that has been going around in the art world for years is whether the Mona Lisa should be restored and cleaned. This has been a tricky topic for many years because the painting holds such a high status in the art world; therefore, it seems like restoring this painting may take away from the popularity of the painting.

Because of this, around 2007, Pascal Cotte, an engineer, decided to try to reveal Mona Lisa‘s original colors to give people a sense of what the painting looks like behind all the varnish. Therefore, the painting was scanned multiple times with professional cameras and lighting. This allowed the engineers to get close-ups of the painting, and see elements in the painting that are almost impossible to see with the eye.

Here is an image of Cotte with the different variations that came out of the scan:

Mona Lisa and Cotte

This is such an amazing collaboration of science and art because it takes the art world to another level by allowing for art historians to begin to fully understand the complexities of art history. I also think it dismantles the stigma that is here today about art. The sciences seem to be far more valued today than the arts are. In this case, this shows us that both these fields are essential, and they can even work together to decipher complexities within the art field.

HOWEVER, what is even more interesting than this is that Cotte found another portrait underneath the layer of the Mona Lisa.


Cotte speculates that this is a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. This painting was supposedly commissioned by Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo, her husband. But many art historians and even the Louvre refuse to believe this theory because they don’t think there is enough evidence to prove this.

Either way, I think this is such as amazing discover. It shows us that we can question art history because there is still so much we don’t know about.

 Feature Image from | All Other Images are from


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