Her deceptive smile and timeless charm have inspired academic study and artistic emulation for more than five centuries. But the history of Leonardo da Vinci's puzzling portrait is even richer than it seems.
Da Vinci's 15th-century masterpiece is one of the world's most recognizable works of art, but there's more to see here than in this sublime smile.
Firstly, it is speculated that the woman in the portrait is pregnant, given the way her arms are placed across her belly and the veil around her shoulders, which was often worn by pregnant women during the Italian Renaissance.
But the most recent findings are in his eyes. In 2011, Italian researcher Silvano Vinceti claimed that he found letters and numbers microscopically painted on them. The investigator told the Associated Press that the "L" over her right eye probably represents the artist's name.
But the meaning of the letter "S" he sees in her left eye and the number "72" under the arched bridge in the background are less clear. Vinceti believes that the "S" could refer to a woman from the Sforza dynasty that ruled Milan, meaning that the woman in the painting may not be Lisa Gherardini , as has long been believed.
As for the "72", Vinceti argues that it could be due to the importance of numbers in both Christianity and Judaism. For example, "7" refers to the creation of the world, and the number "2" could refer to the duality of men and women.
The Mona Lisa is ranked no. 1 on the list of famous paintings
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