Mona Lisa Revealed. Secrets Of The Painting

2008
Distributed by Microcinema International/Microcinema DVD, 1636 Bush St., Suite #2, SF, CA 94109; 415-447-9750
Produced by Caroline Cocciardi
Directed by Caroline Cocciardi
DVD, color, 50 min. Bonus material 6 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Art, Art History, Painting, Photography


Reviewed by Sebastian Derry, Temple University

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 5/7/2009

Lisa di Antonio Giocondo was immortalized by the Florentine artist Leonardo da Vinci. His painting of her is the beloved Mona Lisa, and it is quite simply the most famous piece of art in the known universe. Painted sometime during the years 1503-1506, she can still generate front page news 500 years on, as Mona Lisa Revealed promulgates.

There are really two stars in this film—Mona Lisa, and the French engineer Pascal Cotte. Enthralled by the painting from a young age, and dreaming of one day seeing inside it, Cotte grows up to design a new kind of multi-spectral scanning camera. Capable of taking 13 photographs of the painting from across the light spectrum (from ultraviolet to infrared) at a heretofore unimaginable resolution of 240 million pixels, the camera projects a ray of white light across the painting, creating a computerized image of the Mona Lisa.

The upshot of all this technology means that it is possible now to look at different layers of the painting, to literally go beneath the surface of the paint. As a result, many secrets are revealed, and the age-old question of “Why was Mona Lisa painted without eyebrows or eyelashes?” is finally answered.

The film achieves just the right balance of providing historical background for both the painting and da Vinci’s artistic process with following Cotte’s process at work with his scanning camera and computers.

On the disc’s bonus feature, all 25 secrets of the painting are revealed, with a special 26th secret thrown in for good measure. Mona Lisa’s been holding out on us. Who knew?

Recommended for all libraries.