SHE may be famous for her enigmatic looks – but Mona Lisa might not be the only woman with that certain smile, according to a Sheffield Hallam University expert.
Psychologist Alessandro Soranzo has studied a lesser-known painting by Leonardo da Vinci that may have paved the way for his most famous masterpiece.
The subject of the earlier La Bella Principessa also has what is know as an ‘uncatchable’ smile – in which the shape of her mouth appears to change according to one’s viewpoint. The painting is thought to depict 13-year-old Bianca Sforza, who died months after marrying a leading military commander.
Allesandro said: “We believe there is an illusory effect in this portrait.
“Given Leonardo’s mastery of the technique and its subsequent use in the Mona Lisa, it is quite conceivable that the effect was intentional, based on explicit artistic skill and used in line with Leonardo’s maxim that portraits should reflect some ‘inner turmoil of the mind’.”