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Kamal Gerasimov
Kamal Gerasimov

Mona Lisa Smile

The epiphany came by studying La Bella Principessa. The earlier painting, which portraits the young illegitimate daughter of a Milanese Duke, has the same effect as the Mona Lisa: from some angles the young lady seems to be smiling, from others, the smile appears to have vanished.

Mona Lisa Smile

Volunteers were asked to look at the painting from a variety of angles and distances. The conclusion was that, when focusing on the eyes of the painting, viewing from a distance, or when digitally blurred, a delicate smile could be seen. When viewed close up, or focusing on the mouth, however, the smile disappears.

To fully understand the Mona Lisa, we also have to relate it to the conventions of Renaissance portraiture. The enigmatic smile, for example, can be traced to conceptions of femininity represented by Beatrice in Dante's Divine Comedy. Even these rules were made to be broken: Lisa's direct gaze defies expectations of a demure female portrait. That smile and those eyes were meant for Francesco, not oglers in a gallery. Yet as the painting progressed, Leonardo seems to have lost sight of his patron's requirements. He knew he was making a bold, personal statement, which is perhaps why he held on to it all his life.

The famous painting of the Mona Lisa has intrigued art enthusiasts for centuries, especially her enigmatic smile. There's no mystery here, though, 'Mona Lisa Smile' will perform beautifully in your garden, producing paintbrush-like, long spikes of rosy purple flowers. This is one of the first speedwell to flower, starting about two weeks earlier than 'Very Van Gogh'. Its flowers cover most of the terrific, rounded habit. Veronica is highly valued for its ease of growth and long bloom time. The spiky flowers are an excellent contrast to the more common rounded flower shapes like Shasta Daisies, Coneflower, and Black Eyed Susans. Expect bees to be buzzing about this plant when in bloom.

"Our results indicate that happiness is expressed only on the left side. According to some influential theories of emotion neuropsychology, we here interpreted the Mona Lisa asymmetric smile as a none genuine smile, also thought to occur when the subject lies," the authors write in their study published recently in the April 2019 issue of the journal Cortex. Luca Marsili, MD, PhD, an instructor in neurology and rehabilitation medicine at the UC College of Medicine, was the lead author of the paper.

Marsili and his colleagues Lucia Ricciardi, MD, PhD, with St. George's University of London, and Matteo Bologna, PhD, of the Sapienza University of Rome, asked 42 people to judge which of six basic emotions were expressed by two chimeric images of the left and right sides of Mona Lisa's smile. A chimeric image is a mirror image of, in this case, just one side of the smile. Thirty-nine, or 92.8%, of the raters indicated that the left half of the smile displayed happiness while none indicated the right side showed happiness. In assessing the right side smile, 35 said the expression was neutral, five said it was disgust and two indicated sadness.

The authors also point out that there also is no upper face muscle activation in the Mona Lisa painting. A genuine smile causes the checks to raise and muscles around the eyes to contract, and is called a Duchenne smile, after 19th century French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne. The asymmetric smile, also known as a non-Duchenne smile, "reflects a non-genuine emotion and is thought to occur when the subject lies," the authors note.

"Considering it is unlikely that a person who sits motionless for hours to be painted is able to constantly smile in genuine happiness, the simplest explanation is that the Mona Lisa asymmetric smile is the manifestation of an 'untrue enjoyment' in spite of all the efforts that Leonardo's jesters used to make in order to keep his models merry," the researchers write. "An alternative intriguing possibility, however, is that Leonardo already knew the true meaning of asymmetric smile more than three centuries before Duchenne's reports and deliberately illustrated a smile expressing a 'non-felt' emotion."

If da Vinci was aware of the meaning of an asymmetric smile, the authors speculate that Mona Lisa's smile might hide cryptic messages, for example, that this was in reality a self-portrait or that the portrait referred to a man or a dead woman.

"While the Mona Lisa smile continues to attract attention of its observers, the true message it conveys remains elusive and many unsolved mysteries remain to be elucidated, perhaps via the knowledge of emotion neuropsychology," the researchers conclude.

"The elusive quality of the Mona Lisa's smile can be explained by the fact that her smile is almost entirely in low spatial frequencies, and so is seen best by your peripheral vision," Prof Livingstone said.

(CNN) -- Scientists analyzed the portrait of the Mona Lisa, a woman with famously mixed emotions, hoping to unlock her smile. They applied emotion recognition software that measures a person's mood by examining features such as the curve of the lips and the crinkles around the eyes.

  • Live-Action TV Used a few times in Terry Gilliam's animations for Monty Python's Flying Circus.

  • In the Doctor Who serial "The City of Death" the villain gets Leonardo to paint several copies of the Mona Lisa so he (the villain) could sell them multiple times to facilitate his evil plot. The Doctor foils this plan by writing "This Is A Fake" in felt tip on the boards Leonardo uses. Naturally, this means the one hanging in the Louvre also has "This Is A Fake" written under the painting, but the Doctor says that if people have to x-ray it to know if it's any good, they deserve to think it's a fake.

  • Mona is taken out of her portrait so Alex can cheat on a test in Wizards of Waverly Place. She ends up going back in wearing one of Harper's home made necklaces.

  • She comes out of her portrait in The Sarah Jane Adventures. She traps people in paintings and searches for her "brother", another painting made using the same oils.

  • Lisa is a main character in Leonardo. The first time Leo paints her, his patron's reaction is "What's wrong with her mouth?"

  • The Wild Wild West: Artemus Gordon's smile when he has an "Ah-ha!" moment is described as this.

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: the painting is part of Kivas Fajo's collection in The Most Toys. Data tries to imitate her smile while admiring it.

  • Music The Nat King Cole song "Mona Lisa."

  • This concert poster for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Referred to as the Mona Zappa.

  • The Miracle by Queen mentions Mona Lisa's smile as a miracle.

  • "Te Aviso, Te Anuncio", the spanish version of "Objection (Tango)" from Shakira includes the lyrics "Por tí me quedé como Mona Lisa, sin llanto y sin sonrisa" note Because of you I ended like Mona Lisa, without crying and without a smile

In the painting, a portrait of Lisa Gherardini commissioned by her husband Francesco del Giocondo soon after the birth of their child Andrea in 1502, she shows numerous signs of hypothyroidism, even down to her famously inscrutable smile.

"In this circumstance, if Lisa Gherardini was indeed suffering from severe hypothyroidism or its consequences, the mysterious smile may at one level be representative of some psychomotor retardation and muscle weakness leading to a less than fully blossomed smile," say Mehra and Campbell.

Here's her secret: Your first stare at the legendary canvas will most likely be directly at the sitter's eyes. At this point, the part of your eye called the fovea that picks up fine details such as color will process the image of the eyes, while your imprecise peripheral vision will pick up the image of the lips. Because peripheral vision can't distinguish fine details, it mistakes the shadows from the sitter's cheekbones as a smile. When you return your gaze to the lips, your fovea sees the fine details of the lips. Voila! A smile turned upside down.

There is other science involved in the smile. From his optics studies, Leonardo realized that light rays do not come to a single point in the eye but instead hit the whole area of the retina. The central area of the retina, known as the fovea, is best at seeing color and small details; the area surrounding the fovea is best at picking up shadows and shadings of black and white. When we look at an object straight on, it appears sharper. When we look at it peripherally, glimpsing it out of the corner of our eye, it is a bit blurred, as if it were farther away.

The elusive quality of the Mona Lisa's smile can be explained by the fact that her smile is almost entirely in low spatial frequencies, and so is seen best by your peripheral vision (Science, 290, 1299). These three images show her face filtered to show selectively lowest (left) low (middle) and high (right) spatial frequencies.

So when you look at her eyes or the background, you see a smile like the one on the left, or in the middle, and you think she is smiling. But when you look directly at her mouth, it looks more like the panel on the right, and her smile seems to vanish. The fact that the degree of her smile varies so much with gaze angle makes her expression dynamic, and the fact that her smile vanishes when you look directly at it, makes it seem elusive.

You've got Marcia Gay Harden as a teacher so obsessed with rules and appearances that even her tour of the teachers' living quarters makes you antsy. She can't even make a complete smile because her lips are forever pursed. By the time you see her give a course in proper dinner party having, she looks so worried that some girl is going to put the knife on the left side that you want to scream, "What makes you happy, woman? Because this is obviously a front for something." 041b061a72

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