Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Mona Lisa

hearing the name "mona lisa" gives me a chilly feeling. maybe it sounds like "mona fendi"? haha. people around the world who knows the existance of mona lisa will usually question the mystery behind her smile. well, i never thought anything was weird about her smile. pftt. but seriously, this is something to check out :)

Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile has been the source of inspiration for many and a cause for desperation in others. In 1852, Luc Maspero, a French artist, jumped four floors to his death from a hotel room in Paris. His suicide note explained that he preferred death after years of struggling to understand the mystery behind Mona Lisa's smile. Today, visitors to the Musée du Louvre grapple with the same question: How does she smile?

Italians respond to this query by referring to a painting technique called sfumato, which was developed by Da Vinci. In Italian, sfumato means "vanished" or "smoky," implying that the portrait is ambiguous and blurry, leaving its interpretation to the viewers' imagination. This technique uses a subtle blend of tones and colors to produce the illusion of form, depth, and volume.

Dr. Margaret Livingstone, a neuroscientist at Harvard, explains that the human eyes consist of two regions — the fovea, or central area, and the surrounding peripheral area. The fovea recognizes details and colors and reads fine print, while the peripheral area identifies shadows, black and white, and motion. When a person looks at the Mona Lisa, the fovea focuses on her eyes, leaving the peripheral area on her mouth. Since peripheral vision is less accurate and does not pick up details, the shadows in Mona Lisa's cheekbones augment the curvature of her smile.

When the viewer looks directly at the mouth of the Mona Lisa, however, the fovea does not pick up the shadows, and the portrait no longer appears to be smiling. Therefore, the appearance and disappearance of Mona Lisa's smile is really an attribute of viewers' vision. In spite of the many revelations from years of research, the Mona Lisa remains an enigma today. The brilliant strokes of Da Vinci's paintbrush have ensured that she continues to evoke wonder, admiration, and inspiration in all who lay eyes upon her.

alright, now i'm amazed by the power of leonardo da vinci's painting of mona lisa. ahah :P