"Mona Lisa" (03:20)
The Louvre houses Leonardo da Vinci's work, drawing millions of visitors every year. Researchers will use new techniques to examine the world's most celebrated painting to better understand its creator.
Examining the "Mona Lisa" (04:23)
Artistic impersonators pay tribute to da Vinci; the Louvre houses five of his paintings. Vincent Delieuvin works with scientists to understand what it took for da Vinci to create "the perfect painting." Bruno Mottin examines the paint chemistry. (Credits)
Light Spectrum Images (04:38)
Da Vinci began the "Mona Lisa" as a commissioned portrait in 1503. Scientists use high-tech cameras and x-rays to examine the painting; see Raphael's "La Belle Jardinière."
Da Vinci's Background: Florence (03:22)
Da Vinci, one of the first artists to paint freely, was born out of wedlock in 1452. At the age of 14, he went to Florence and apprenticed with Andrea del Verrocchio; he was likely the model for Verrocchio's "David."
Art, Science, and Engineering (06:37)
Verrocchio's team was commissioned to create a gilded sphere for the cathedral cupola. Experts discuss Da Vinci's notebooks of scientific investigations; his ideas appear to predict the modern age. Karly Bast and her team apply 21st century engineering to a 16th century bridge design.
Science of Painting (05:54)
Da Vinci sought wealthy patrons for support. Details in his paintings reveal his explorations in science. Cinzia Pasquali is restoring a painting of Bacchus and attempts to verify whether it was created by da Vinci. Florent Farges discusses the artist's use of layers.
Da Vinci Technique (03:37)
Farges runs a virtual artist workshop; he demonstrates using thin layers of oil paint. Artists attempt to capture how light reveals the shape of the human body. Da Vinci's paintings have soft transitions.
Understanding Anatomy (04:51)
Trudy Van Houten discusses dissection in Da Vinci's time and his anatomical drawings, including "The Great Lady." Windsor Castle houses over 200 da Vinci drawings. "Mona Lisa" reveals the artist's knowledge of anatomy.
How Humans See (06:12)
Experts discuss da Vinci's use of optics to create more realistic paintings, the ambiguity of "Mona Lisa's" smile, and how our eyes and brain work together to perceive our surroundings; see a peripheral vision demonstration.
Atmospheric Perspective (06:09)
Experts examine "Bacchus" after removing the varnish and determine it cannot be attributed to da Vinci. They consider restoring the "Mona Lisa." Pascal Cotte gives the painting a "digital makeover."
Da Vinci Exhibition (01:38)
The three paintings da Vinci took to France three years before he died are now on display at the Louvre. Experts reflect on the artist's impact and style.
Credits: Decoding da Vinci (01:06)
Credits: Decoding da Vinc
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