The Mona Lisa, a timeless masterpiece, has captivated the world with its smile, shrouded in mystery for centuries, but now scientists claim they’ve discovered something more.
More Than Just a Painting
Artists, experts, and enthusiasts have long been entranced by the secrets concealed within Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic portrait.
Recent developments in X-ray technology have ushered in a new era of discovery, shedding light on the cryptic creation of the Mona Lisa.
New Groundbreaking Discovery
In a study published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a group of researchers have delved into the depths of this masterpiece, uncovering secrets that have eluded us for centuries.
Leonardo’s Experimental Genius
Victor Gonzalez, the lead author of the study, believes that Leonardo da Vinci was a true artistic maverick. He was an inventor, a visionary, and someone who loved to experiment with his craft.
Each Masterpiece Has Its Own Technical Genius
“He was someone who loved to experiment, and each of his paintings is completely different technically,” said Gonzalez.
A Glimpse Into the Past
By examining the chemical compositions of numerous works by Leonardo and his contemporaries, Gonzalez uncovered a unique feature in the paint of the Mona Lisa.
A Look of Ingenuity
It was a rare compound known as plumbonacrite, a clue to Leonardo’s ingenuity and mastery.
Leonardo’s Unique Recipe
This discovery indicates that Leonardo likely used lead oxide powder to enhance the texture and drying time of his paint.
The Honey-Like Glow
He skillfully combined this powder, which boasted a vibrant orange hue, with linseed or walnut oil to create a thicker, faster-drying paste.
The result was a lustrous, golden oil paint that “flows more like honey.”
Art World’s Excitement
Carmen Bambach, an Italian art specialist and curator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, lauded the study’s findings, called the discovery “very exciting.”
The Invisible Clue
The fragment of paint analyzed by Gonzalez and his team was no larger than the diameter of a human hair.
A Piece of Mona Lisa’s Hair
It was taken from the top right-hand edge of the Mona Lisa, a masterpiece adorning the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Unveiling the Atomic Structure
Advanced technology allowed them to unravel the atomic structure of the paint and identify the presence of plumbonacrite.
Plumbonacrite, as a byproduct of lead oxide, has been identified as a key ingredient in Leonardo’s paint recipe, akin to finding a long-lost fingerprint of the genius artist.
Surprisingly, Dutch master Rembrandt, painting in the 17th century, might have also adopted a similar recipe, as plumbonacrite has been discovered in his works as well.
The Mona Lisa’s Secrets Await
While the plumbonacrite discovery unlocks a portion of the Mona Lisa’s secrets, there is still much left to unravel.
A World to Unravel
Gonzalez and his team believe that countless more mysteries lie within the world of art, and they are only beginning to “scratch the surface.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sergii Figurnyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.