That Smile

La Gioconda‘s enigmatic charm continues to captivate, as a spectator gazes at the back of a photograph of the Mona Lisa, part of the traveling exhibition Da Vinci — The Genius, on display at the Artillery Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, October 5, 2011. Scientific engineer and photographer, Pascal Cotte, was granted special access by the French government and the Louvre Museum to conduct an extensive review of the masterwork for the “Secrets of Mona Lisa” segment of the exhibit. Removing her from the frame and protective glass enclosure, Cotte’s photographic examination, using infrared light and other digital techniques, resulted in a number of new discoveries, including identifying her original pigment colors, confirming that she did indeed have eyebrows and eyelashes — and that a left finger was not completely finished. About that fabled expression, according to Cotte: “The smile is more accentuated, I would say.”

(Photo: Alexander Demianchuk / Reuters)

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