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Modern Mysteries

Is the Mona Lisa the world's first 3D image ?

By T.K. Randall
May 6, 2014 · Comment icon 13 comments



The Mona Lisa's famous smile. Image Credit: Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece is part of a matching pair of paintings that form a 3D image.
Two years ago investigators discovered a remarkable studio copy of the Mona Lisa hidden beneath a black layer of paint on a canvas that dated back to the same time period as the original.

"Not only does it mirror its famous counterpart superficially; it also features the very same corrections to the lower layers, which indicates that da Vinci and the 'copyist' must have elaborated their panels simultaneously," researchers Claus-Christian Carbon and Vera Hesslinger concluded in a study published in 2013.
There was one additional detail however that would make this particular painting even more special. By analyzing it together with the original, experts realized that the two paintings were not identical but that the perspective of one was slightly offset from the other. As a result of this, combining the two paintings produced a remarkable stereoscopic 3D image.

Did Leonardo da Vinci intend to create this effect with the paintings or was it simply a coincidence ? We may never know for sure, but given that the Renaissance genius also happened to have invented a type of colored glasses in his workshop, some researchers believe that da Vinci had created the paintings with the stereoscopic effect in mind.

Source: Tech Times | Comments (13)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by keithisco 9 years ago
not forgetting the Isleworth Mona Lisa - which would make 3 paintings.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Taun 9 years ago
Interestingly, when I went to the article, and saw the two paintings side by side, I slightly unfocused my eyes - the same way you do for "magic eye" pictures, and it did have a 3-D effect...
Comment icon #6 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
Amazing and I wouldn't put it past him. Leonardo was fiddling with photography and all sorts of light tricks. He created several versions of the camera obscura and was famous for his illusions as well as his art. Wouldn't be hard to test. Create a viewfinder wheel with the two images and look!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Sundew 9 years ago
Nice article, but nothing really jumped out at me... Next time try your 3-D glasses!
Comment icon #8 Posted by theotherguy 9 years ago
Try looking at any two nearly identical picture side by side. With the Magic Eye unfocusing technique, almost anything will become more 3-D.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Realm 9 years ago
I heard they were the first "paint by numbers" kits. That explains the closeness of the paintings.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Peter B 9 years ago
Nice article, but nothing really jumped out at me... Where's the Groan button when you need it...
Comment icon #11 Posted by Junior Chubb 9 years ago
Where's the Groan button when you need it... One mans groan is another mans highly planned, well thought out and sometimes hilarious but usually naff attempts at humour
Comment icon #12 Posted by Calibeliever 9 years ago
Nice article, but nothing really jumped out at me... ba-dum-bump How about a pair of these?
Comment icon #13 Posted by woopypooky 9 years ago
He who knew where holy grail was, anything is possible.


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