The Mona Lisa by Da Vinci has been the subject of several scientific examinations for almost a century. Pascal Cotte, a French scientist claims he has uncovered a hidden image underneath the Mona Lisa. Cotte was given access to the painting in 2004, and after more than a decade studying Da Vinci’s masterpiece Pascal claims to have found another portrait underneath Mona Lisa. He analyzed the painting with reflective light technology to reveal that the portrait beneath is one of another woman. Pascal Cotte has revealed this hidden image by using his own Layer Amplification Method. For centuries, the woman in the portrait was believed to be Lisa Gherardini, but these new findings by this French scientist add further debate about the true identity of the woman in the portrait.
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Pascal Cotte was quoted as saying “When I finished the reconstruction of Lisa Gherardini [the Mona Lisa], I was in front of the portrait and she is totally different to the Mona Lisa today. This is not the same woman.” He further said that “The results shatter many myths and alter our vision of Leonardo’s masterpiece forever,”
Pascal Cotte used a pioneering technique called Layer Amplification Method (LAM) in analyzing the painting and revealed two images hidden under the original painting. One hidden image was a portrait with a larger head and nose, and the other one was with bigger hands but smaller lips. A reconstruction shows another image of a sitter looking off to the side, the BBC reported.
Pascal Cotte believes the image hidden under the surface of the portrait is the original Mona Lisa by Leonardo, and that the portrait named Mona Lisa for more than 500 years is, in fact, a different woman. So it’s not Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant? Cotte further said, “We can now analyse exactly what is happening inside the layers of the paint and we can peel, like an onion, all the layers of the painting. We can reconstruct all the chronology of the creation of the painting.” The Louvre Museum has refused to comment about these findings of Pascal Cotte because Pascal is not part of the museum’s research team.
Pascal Cotte was also the one who claimed in October 2007 that when Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa the woman in the portrait had eyebrows and eyelashes and they might have disappeared because the pigment faded due to an attempt to clean the painting.
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Not everyone is willing to accept the findings of the French scientist. Martin Kemp, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, said, “The idea that there is that picture as it were hiding underneath the surface is untenable. I do not think there are these discrete stages which represent different portraits. I see it as more or less a continuous process of evolution. I am absolutely convinced that the Mona Lisa is Lisa.”
Art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon in his documentary ‘The Secrets of the Mona Lisa’ in BBC said, ” “I have no doubt that this is definitely one of the stories of the century.”