Who was the lady with the mystical smile so lovingly depicted by master, Leonardo Da Vinci? Has computer technology cracked some of her mystery? Read on for some thoughts on a fascinating subject.
Several years ago, the television show, Unsolved Mysteries presented a segment in which art historians argued about the identity of the most elusive painted lady in history, Mona Lisa. One expert concluded that the subject of the painting was none other than Leonardo himself, his feminine side winking at admirers through a veil of paint and canvas for more than five hundred years. Some experts say no, she is an amalgam, with a nose from here, eyes from there and…well… you get the picture. Still others suggest a name for the enigmatic lady as the wife of an Italian nobleman.
Whosoever she is or might have been, today’s scientists now claim that they have cracked the secret of Mona Lisa’s smile. According to The New Scientist, the most modern computer software has analyzed the smile on what is probably Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous work. (Talk about cracking a real Da Vinci code!)
And what have they come up with using all of this state-of-the-art equipment?
Conducted at the University of Amsterdam, the program co-developed with experts at the University of Illinois, utilized a database of young female faces in order to create an average “neutral” expression. The curvature of lips and crinkles around the eyes aided the scientists in forming conclusions about the emotions being expressed in the painting, which is on exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Results indicated that the mysterious smile conveyed 83% happiness, 9% disgust, 6% fear and 2% anger.
The results have met with some opposition. Art expert, Michael Daly said: “The point of this work is that it is a riddle, and the inaccessibility of the emotions on her face is why people are so fascinated with it.” He added that, “The idea that a computer can come up with four emotions is impossible with something that has been created by the human hand.”
What do YOU think?