Why The Mona Lisa Smiles

I thought that this was pretty interesting.

“AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The mysterious half-smile that has intrigued viewers of the Mona Lisa for centuries isn’t really that difficult to interpret, Dutch researchers said Thursday.

She was smiling because she was happy — 83 percent happy, to be exact, according to scientists from the University of Amsterdam.

In what they viewed as a fun demonstration of technology rather than a serious experiment, the researchers scanned a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece and subjected it to cutting-edge “emotion recognition” software, developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois.

The result showed the painting’s famous subject was 83 percent happy, 9 percent disgusted, 6 percent fearful and 2 percent angry. She was less than 1 percent neutral, and not at all surprised.

Leonardo began work on the painting in 1503, and it now hangs in the Louvre in Paris.

The work, also known as “La Gioconda,” is believed to have portrayed the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The title is a play on her husband’s name, and also means “the jolly lady” in Italian.

Harro Stokman, a professor at the University of Amsterdam involved in the experiment, said the researchers knew the results would be unscientific — the software isn’t designed to register subtle emotions. So it couldn’t detect the hint of sexual suggestion or disdain many have read into Mona Lisa’s eyes.

In addition, the technology is designed for use with modern digital films and images, and subjects first need to be scanned in a neutral emotionless state to accurately detect their current emotion.”

(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)


  1. KRISTIN December 17, 2005 at 8:22 am

    Actually I think artists paint smiles like this one when they don’t know the person at all and don’t want to insult anyone LOL
    I think Da Vinci was 100% neutral while painted it.

  2. KRISTIN December 17, 2005 at 8:17 am

    I am 20% happy at the moment, 23% fearful, 34% disgusted, 10% angry and 13% neutral, not at all surprised. Let’s see if I grin?
    Yup :S

  3. lime December 17, 2005 at 5:14 am

    what a riot. what will researchers ome up with next? mary in ‘the pieta’ is sad?

  4. Pragmatician December 16, 2005 at 10:00 am

    Interesting, yes
    True, probably not it’s probably nonsense

  5. elvira black December 16, 2005 at 9:54 am

    What a brilliant technological breakthrough! Smiling because she was…happy!

    And all this time I just thought she had gas.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like