FRANCE – Scientists have uncovered some secrets in an iconic painting!
The Mona Lisa, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces, was hiding some secrets that have finally been cracked thanks to researchers and scientists. French researchers studied various da Vinci paintings to analyze the painter’s use of successive ultrathin layers of paint and glaze – a technique that gave his works their dreamy quality.
Experts from the Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France analyzed the artist’s technique using a non-invasive method called X-ray fluorescence. Da Vinci’s saddling method, called sfumato, is will known. Thanks to the careful study of seven of da Vinci’s paintings, scientists have been able to reconstruct his unique style.
The study found that da Vinci painted up to 30 layers of paint on his works to meet his standards of subtlety. Added up, all the layers are less than 40 micrometers, or about half the thickness of a man hair, researcher Philippe Walter said Friday.
X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, the technique used by the study group, is so precise that “now we can find out the mix of pigments used by the artist for each coat of paint,” Walter told The Associated Press. “And that’s very, very important for understanding the technique.”
The study revealed that da Vinci was always attempting new methods with his paintings. With the Mona Lisa, da Vinci added a manganese oxide in the shadings’ glaze; in other paintings he experimented with copper.
The results were published Wednesday in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, a chemistry journal.