Mona Lisa Smiling?

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Finally an Answer!

Marjolaine Pilon
Campis Life Editor

Victor Hugo once said, “Pourquoi me faire ce sourire qui tournerait la tête au Roi?”. He was singing for a beautiful woman with whom he had fallen in love, in his song called L’ âme en fleur. A woman’s smile can be contagious, mysterious, and complex when it comes to analysing its purpose or meaning. La Gioconda, a highly popular painting from the genius Leonardo da Vinci, is one of these women that made the scientists around the world lose their minds. What did this subtle smile mean? Was she even smiling?

That’s what experts tried to figure out for years, and they finally came to quite a solid conclusion: the Mona Lisa is officially smiling. Obvious, you think? Not that much. The study from the University of Freiburg (Germany), with which they came to this final inference, implied 12 participants who had to analyse 9 black and white transformed versions of the Mona Lisa’s mouth: 4 in which the curve of the mouth made the woman look sad, 4 that made her look happy, and the original portrait. Then, the people had to identify, according to their own perspective, which photos looked happier, and which looked sadder. Surprisingly, the original portrait was placed in the “happy” zone more than 97% of the time with ease, which helped confirm that the Mona Lisa’s smile is definitely… a smile.

An interesting fact that appeared in La Presse was that the woman portrayed as the Mona Lisa could have been Lisa Gherardini, spouse of Francesco del Giocondo, an important tradesman back in the 16th century. His family name would be the root of the painting’s name La Gioconda, which also means happy in Italian.

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