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Mona Lisa Revealed: Secrets of the Painting (DVD Review)

23 Mar, 2009 By: John Latchem

Mona Lisa

Street 3/31/09
$19.99 DVD
Not rated.

Art history enters the 21st century in Mona Lisa Revealed, about the scientific deconstruction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous portrait.

In 2007 optical engineer Pascal Cotte, inventor of the multispectral camera, photographed the painting at a resolution of 240 million pixels, capturing details from several wavelengths of light, including infrared.

His findings are chronicled in Mona Lisa Revealed, which plays like a good Discovery Channel documentary, cleverly adding a female narrator as the voice of the “Mona Lisa.” Other audio tricks are a bit distracting, however, as it’s pretty obvious the original sound of some of Cotte’s lectures has been dubbed over with a new voiceover of what he said at the event.

Unlike The Da Vinci Code, there are no grand religious secrets hidden within the frame. Among Cotte’s findings are the Mona Lisa’s long-missing eyebrows and eyelashes, and visual clues to Da Vinci’s painting techniques, such as how he kept re-painting her fingers.

Art buffs will appreciate these tidbits, but they will really enjoy the revelation of the virtually restored “Mona Lisa,” presented with a colorfully crisp image as it would have appeared when it was freshly painted. Unfortunately, the disc offers only a tease of the final restoration.

The DVD’s bonus feature summarizes all the secrets, including a 26th secret that relates to the painting’s theft in 1911.

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