'Secret portrait' found underneath the Mona Lisa

By Kirstin Buick
08 December 2015

A recent discovery could change everything we thought we knew about Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic painting.

A French scientist who has been studying the artwork for over a decade  says that the enigmatic portrait is actually painted over another portrait -- one of another subject looking to the side. "The results shatter many myths and alter our vision of Leonardo's masterpiece forever," researcher Pascal Cotte said. Using his Layer Amplification Method, Cotte has been analysing the painting since 2004.

'The results shatter many myths and alter our vision of Leonardo's masterpiece forever'

The woman in the portrait is generally accepted to be Lisa Gherardini, a Florentine silk merchant's wife. But Gotte believes his studies have disproved the theory.

"When I finished the reconstruction of Lisa Gherardini, I was in front of the portrait and she is totally different to Mona Lisa today.

"This is not the same woman."

Of his Layer Amplification Method, Cotte 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."

Cotte's claims have been refuted by other art experts, with Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford commenting, "The idea that there is that picture as it were hiding underneath the surface is untenable."

The Louvre Museum has declined to comment on his claims because it "was not part of the scientific team".

Sources: BBC, The Mirror

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