Speculation in the art world is nothing new, especially when it comes to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Art lovers have long asked why the woman in the painting is smiling and who exactly she was. Now, thanks to 3-D imaging, we might have a few answers. Researchers from Canada's National Research Council used laser scanners to compile three-dimensional scans of the painting. They said the scans revealed that the painting's sitter was wearing a style of veil around her shoulders that was commonly worn by Italian Renaissance women when they were pregnant. The findings would appear to corroborate the long-held belief that the model was Lisa Gherardini, the 24-year-old wife of a Florentine merchant who was celebrating the birth of a second son at the time.
The woman with the mysterious smile:
- The woman in the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows or eyelashes, but no one knows whether they were erased during restoration or were never there in the first place.
- The Mona Lisa is uninsured and uninsurable because it is considered priceless and cannot be replaced.
- The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, and two non-traditional artists -- Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire -- were originally accused of the theft.