Sunday, May 27, 2007

Repost Sunday: Mona Lisa Unveiled, In A Manner Of Speaking

I rerun some of my older posts on Sundays as a way to highlight stories that you may have missed. Just think of it as 'thought recycling' and a day off, or that I am incredibly, incredibly lazy. Also, there are about 1100 miles of auto racing on TV today and my neurons are way too tingly and over-stimulated because of that to have come up with anything new.

To enhance your reading experience for this story, I would recommend playing Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” in the background. Here’s why: newer 3D technology has revealed secrets behind Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa portrait. The biggest of them being the fact that it appears she was pregnant when she posed for the painting. By scanning the original painting with their newfangled equipment, scientists found a thin veil Ms. Lisa (if I can be permitted to say that) was wearing over her dress. The veil was what soon-to-be mommies wore during her times, also referred to as back in the day. It’s fascinating technology.

The one aspect of Mona Lisa that admirers of art have always wanted to know pertains to her smile. Is it actually a smile, a tiny grin or nothing at all? What could she be smiling about? Did she have a torrid affair with Da Vinci or knew a secret she could never tell? Was there someone else in the room trying to make her laugh by doing those funny Renaissance impersonations? Well now, for the first time, the secret behind the smile can be revealed. Mona’s slight grin was because she had gas. I guess deep down that’s what a lot of us always suspected.

The best part of all this 3D technology is that it can be applied to other pieces of famous and historic artwork to reveal more about them. This science will allow us to fully understand the techniques that make certain pieces of art so important and show us things that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Art historians have already presented their wish list of pieces they want to learn more about. At the top of that list is the original “Dogs Playing Poker.” By scanning the painting, they hope to answer questions that have plagued us all since the painting was debuted in 1903. Among them are whether or not the dogs were really inhaling the cigar smoke, who had the best poker hand at the time of the portrait and whether or not the room they were playing in had wallpaper and if so, what was the print. Perhaps the most controversial discovery will be whether all of the dogs depicted were actually males.

The second painting that historians are salivating about is “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” which shows pop icons Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis and Bogart in a corner diner. It has long been rumored that instead of a diner, the setting could actually be the first Starbucks and now we might be able to know for sure. By examining the detailed imaging from the 3D scans, they also hope to see visual references which might indicate the approximate year or even month the painting was made to determine how in the world the artist was able to get four of Hollywood’s brightest stars together while virtually no one else was around. Historians are also keen to find out why Elvis was moonlighting as a soda jerk.

Finally, historians want a closer examination of “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” painted in 1853. Since it was completed many years after the original crossing, historians want to find out who stood in for George Washington. If they can conclude that it actually was Washington, they want to see if he was wearing his wooden teeth. The interest is if the wooden teeth tend to splinter when the person wearing them shivers and if that can be detected by examining the painting as closely as possible.

As you can see, art history has entered a very exciting time. In the coming months and years, scientists and lovers of art hope to gain better understanding of the artwork they have admired for years and want to literally add new dimensions to these faded glories. Be sure that someone out there will pervert the technology and apply it to photography. Then we’ll know who was really on the grassy knoll and if we actually landed men on the moon. Maybe we should just leave all this stuff to the imagination. Dang science…


Odat said...

Yeah, let's leave it to our imaginations!!! Hehe.

Patti said...

I don't like science...imagining stuff is much better.

I saw Mona in real life and it was a major letdown. Maybe because there were about 88,000 other tourists in the gallery at the same time.

CS said...

I love those investigations, to me they are just fun. But now I have the Green Day song "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" stuck in my head.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I would think scientists would also be interested if G.W.'s small pox scars could be visible in the picture in question.