MONA LISA'S SMILE IS AN OPTICAL ILLUSION

Aug 21, 2015

By Andy Johnson

Share on

British researchers believe they have unlocked the mystery of Mona Lisa’s famously enigmatic smile.

Mona

For years experts have wondered why the smile appears most pronounced when viewed from an angle and less so when looked at directly.

Researchers from a British university analyzed a recently-discovered da Vinci masterpiece, the “La Bella Principessa” and found several intriguing clues.

La Bella

In the case of both portraits, they say the same effect was created by a painting technique known as “sfumato” which means soft or pale in Italian.  They point to subtle colours and shades around the mouths of the subjects that create a clever optical illusion.

If one focuses on the eyes of the subject, the lips appear to slant delicately upwards in a tentative smile, but if one looks at the mouth directly, they appear flatter.

Join Our Fan Club
Coverage Area
Downtown Toronto
96.7FM
Toronto HD
96.3 HD-2
Kingston to Windsor, Parry Sound to Pittsburgh
AM740
ZoomerRadio Logo

Recently Played: