A recent discovery seems to indicate that Mona Lisa isn’t actually Mona Lisa. Da Vinci, you sly fox. As the BBC reported, French scientist Pascal Cotte analyzed the masterpiece with reflective light technology until he determined — after 10 years — that a portrait of a completely different woman lies beneath the layers of paint.
For years, the art world assumed Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant. Cotte now believes that the woman he discovered layers down, who has bigger hands, smaller lips, and looks to the side instead of into your eyes, is the merchant’s wife, and the woman we all recognize with the knowing smirk and piercing gaze is a different, unidentified person.
The discovery is hardly conclusive, but it does make you question: Do we really have no idea who the most famous woman in art is? What we do know is there’s enough mystery behind her to spawn at least three more Da Vinci Code sequels. I’d read them. On an airplane, at least. If the TV was broken. And I forgot my headphones. And there was literally nothing else to do.