Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was born in Anchiano, Tuscany (now Italy), close to the town of Vinci that provided the surname we associate with him today. In his own time he was known just as Leonardo or as “Il Florentine,” since he lived near Florence—and was famed as an artist, inventor and thinker.
Da Vinci lived during a time of some of the biggest discoveries and creative masterpieces ever known. And as the word Renaissance suggests, a resurgent interest in the arts and the natural world took hold, supported by religious, public, and private wealth. But the time was also not so unlike our own: da Vinci, in order to make his works, would find “protectors” in the form of dukes, princes, and a pope—not too different from the way an entrepreneur seeks funding today, whether from venture capitalists or from banks.
Leonardo was certainly no stranger to the use codes and encryption. His notes are all written backwards with “mirror” writing. It is unclear exactly why Leonardo did this. It has been suggested that he may have felt that some of his military inventions would be too destructive and powerful if they fell into the wrong hands, therefore he protected his notes by using this reversed writing method
Leonardo was certainly no stranger to the use codes and encryption. His notes are all written backwards with “mirror” writing. It is unclear exactly why Leonardo did this. It has been suggested that he may have felt that some of his military inventions would be too destructive and powerful if they fell into the wrong hands, therefore he protected his notes by using this reversed writing method.Another theory proposed by Christopher Tyler and Leonid Kontsevich of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco says that the smile seems to change because of variable levels of random noise in human visual system. If you close your eyes in a dark room you will notice that everything is not perfectly black. The cells in your eyes generate a low level of “background noise” (which you see as tiny light and dark dots). Your brain usually filters these out, but Tyler and Kontsevich suggest that when viewing the Mona Lisa, these little dots can change the shape of the smile. As evidence for their theory they imposed several random sets of dots over a picture of the Mona Lisa and showed them to people. Some of the sets made the portrait look very happy, others seemed to sadden it. Tyler and Kontsevich argue that the noise which is inherent in the human visual system has the same effect. As someone views the painting, the noise of their own visual system adds to the image and changes it, making the smile seem to change. (source unmuseum.com)
So what is the Mona Lisa smiling about in the first place? Through the years people have speculated that perhaps she was pregnant. Others have found the smile to be sad and have suggested she was unhappy in her marriage.
A copy of the Mona Lisa made more happy and less happy by the introduction of noise.
Dr. Lillian Schwartz of Bell Laboratories has come up with what seems an unlikely, but intriguing idea. She thinks that the subject is smiling because the artist has put a joke over on the viewers. She contends the painting is not of a pretty young woman, but is actually a self-portrait of the artist himself. Schwartz noticed that when she used a computer to line up the features of the Mona Lisa with a portrait that Leonardo had done of himself, they matched up perfectly. Other experts note, however, that this may simply be the result of the two pictures being painted by the same artist using the same techniques.( source unmuseum.com)
Mona Lisa mysteries A zoomed-in image of Mona Lisa’s left eye revealed a single brush stroke in the eyebrow region, Cotte said. “I am an engineer and scientist, so for me all has to be logical. It was not logical that Mona Lisa does not have any eyebrows or eyelashes,” Cotte told LiveScience. “I discovered one hair of the eyebrow.” Another conundrum had been the position of the subject’s right arm, which lies across her stomach. This was the first time, Cotte said, that a painter had rendered a subject’s arm and wrist in such a position. While other artists had never understood da Vinci’s reasoning, they copied it nonetheless. [Photos: Anatomy Meets Art in Da Vinci’s Drawings] Cotte discovered the pigment just behind the right wrist matched up perfectly with that of the painted cover that drapes across Mona Lisa’s knee. So it did make sense: The forearm and wrist held up one side of a blanket. “The wrist of the right hand is up high on the stomach. But if you look deeply in the infrared you understand that she holds a cover with her wrist,” Cotte said. Behind a painting The infrared images also revealed da Vinci’s preparatory drawings that lie behind layers of varnish and paint, showing that the Renaissance man was also human. “If you look at the left hand you see the first position of the finger, and he changed his mind for another position,” Cotte said. “Even Leonardo da Vinci had hesitation.” Other revelations include: Lace on Mona Lisa’s dress The transparency of the veil shows da Vinci first painted a landscape and then used transparency techniques to paint the veil atop it. A change in the position of the left index and middle finger. The elbow was repaired from damage due to a rock thrown at the painting in 1956. The blanket covering Mona Lisa’s knees also covers her stomach. The left finger was not completely finished. A blotch mark on the corner of the eye and chin are varnish accidents, countering claims that Mona Lisa was sick. And the Mona Lisa was painted on uncut poplar board, contrary to speculations. In the larger picture, Cotte said when he stands back and looks up at the enlarged infrared image of Mona Lisa, her beauty and mystique are apparent. “If you are in front of this huge enlargement of Mona Lisa, you understand instantly why Mona Lisa is so famous,” Cotte said. He added, it’s something you have to see with your own eyes. – (source livescience)
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