Study: Mona Lisa neither man nor da Vinci

March 7, 2006
Mona Lisa

A University of Illinois scientist says Mona Lisa probably wasn't a man, and it's even more unlikely it was a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

UI researchers last year used facial-recognition software to analyze the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile. They concluded the model was happy, with touches of disgust, fear and anger, at least as Leonardo da Vinci painted her, the Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette reported Tuesday.

Now Professor Thomas Huang has analyzed the painting to determine its subject's likely gender and compared it with a self-portrait of da Vinci.

Huang says facial-recognition software he and his students developed indicate a 60-40 probability the painting is of a female. And Huang says even if it is a man, it doesn't match well with Leonardo's sketch of himself.

"Of course, nothing proves anything," said Huang, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. "At least it indicates these conjectures may not be right."

The portrait, which da Vinci is believed to have completed in 1507, is formally entitled "Mona Lisa del Gioconda."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Shocks in the early universe could be detectable today

October 27, 2016

(—Physicists have discovered a surprising consequence of a widely supported model of the early universe: according to the model, tiny cosmological perturbations produced shocks in the radiation fluid just a fraction ...

Neutrons prove the existence of 'spiral spin-liquid'

October 27, 2016

Magnetic moments ("spins") in magnetic solids are capable of forming the most diverse structures. Some of them are not only of interest from a scientific point of view, but also from a technical standpoint: processors and ...

Study shows mixed fortunes for Signy penguins

October 27, 2016

A forty year study on a remote Antarctic island shows that while populations of two penguin species are declining, a third is increasing. Analysis of census data from Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands reveals that, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.