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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday June 24 2020, @12:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the fact-or-fiction dept.

Leonardo's 'quick eye' may be key to Mona Lisa's magnetism:

Scientists believe Leonardo da Vinci's super-fast eye may have helped him catch the enigmatic magic of Mona Lisa's smile.

This superhuman trait, which top tennis and baseball players may also share, allowed the Renaissance master to capture accurately minute, fleeting expressions and even birds and dragonflies in flight.

Art historians have long talked of Leonardo's "quick eye", but David S Thaler of Switzerland's University of Basel has tried to gauge it in a new study published Thursday alongside another paper showing how he gave his drawings and paintings uncanny emotional depth.

Professor Thaler's research turns on how Leonardo's eye was so keen he managed to spot that the front and back wings of a dragonfly are out of synch—a discovery which took slow-motion photography to prove four centuries later.

The artist, who lived from 1452 to 1519, sketched how when a dragonfly's front wings are raised, the hind ones are lowered, something that was a blur to Thaler and to his colleagues when they tried to observe the difference themselves.

Thaler told AFP that this gift to see what few humans can may be the secret of Leonardo's most famous painting.

"Mona Lisa's smile is so enigmatic because it represents the moment of breaking into a smile. And Leonardo's quick eye captured that and held it," he said.


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  • (Score: 2) by leon_the_cat on Wednesday June 24 2020, @01:15PM (1 child)

    by leon_the_cat (10052) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @01:15PM (#1011951) Journal

    repetition that it is great makes it great! Good job making it great!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:18PM (#1011996)

      Ah, so Trump's MAGA plan was just to make the same mistakes over and over again?

  • (Score: 2) by legont on Wednesday June 24 2020, @01:29PM (1 child)

    by legont (4179) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @01:29PM (#1011958)

    If I am to guess, he have not really seen it with his eyes, but was smart enough to realize that it is a better flying technique. Once one believes, he often actually starts to see it.
    Another example is how horses run. Even though pretty much everybody can see how they move their legs, all the artists were painting them wrong up to a certain time. They believed wrong and so saw it.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 1) by Frosty Piss on Wednesday June 24 2020, @01:46PM (2 children)

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @01:46PM (#1011962)

    The Mona Lisa is hardly Leonardo da Vinci's best work. Most famous perhaps, but hardly a “masterpiece”, and only a vaguely realistic rendition.

    • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Wednesday June 24 2020, @10:19PM (1 child)

      by Mykl (1112) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @10:19PM (#1012178)

      Agreed.

      We queued up at the Louvre to see it and I was massively underwhelmed. There were far better works on display there.

      As I understand it, the Mona Lisa only became famous after being stolen [npr.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @03:10AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @03:10AM (#1012279)

        When I went to see the cave art from 200,000 years ago I wasn't that impressed either.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @02:26PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @02:26PM (#1011973)

    A quick search for
          explanation for Mona Lisa's smile
    confirms what I remembered--there have been many different explanations for the famously ambiguous smile.

    It would be neat if some researcher took high speed video of someone with a similar shape of face. Perhaps play different standup routines so the model cycled through a rapid series of different expressions--and look at the transitions.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:24PM (6 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:24PM (#1012000)

    Am I the only one to find the woman in this painting really rather plain - if not downright ugly?

    It seems to be in good taste to find her image to be the pinnacle of feminine beauty, but I wouldn't want to hang that painting in my home if you offered it to me...

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:58PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:58PM (#1012017)

      You are not the original audience! Here's one very cursory tour of what beauty meant through the ages,
          https://www.visagemedart.com/brief-history-of-feminine-beauty/ [visagemedart.com]

      • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday June 24 2020, @04:50PM (2 children)

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @04:50PM (#1012048)

        Yes but the praise comes from people of today. Therefore that ugly woman is apparently considered beautiful by today's standards too. How anyone can find her beautiful is beyond me - or even enigmatic, she just looks dumb or stoned out of her mind to me.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 24 2020, @09:09PM (1 child)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 24 2020, @09:09PM (#1012151) Homepage Journal

          One man's meat, is another man's poison.

          I never thought she was very good looking. However - weren't there five women used to make that painting? Something I heard somewhere, maybe true, maybe not. If so, there was no Mona Lisa, the painting only epitomizes something about women that the painter found intriguing.

          --
          Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @03:20AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @03:20AM (#1012284)

            Talking of meat, I don't think Leonardo had a very large cock. I find that disappointing. Plain women and average size penises, meh deep freeze me until they invent the Internet where the laydiez have massive bazookas and the art looks like it was painted by Thomas Kinkade [nyt.com].

    • (Score: 2) by Kitsune008 on Wednesday June 24 2020, @04:01PM

      by Kitsune008 (9054) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @04:01PM (#1012020)

      No, you are not the only one.
      Every time I have heard praise of her supposed beauty, my first thought has always been: "Really? There must of been a whole lot of fugly back then."
      I just don't get it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @01:08AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @01:08AM (#1012233)

      Have you seen it in person?

      I've thought poorly of art which, seen firsthand, was very moving.

      I've heard shit music too - shit music which, live, was profound.

      Converting to a detail chopping mode (images online or in books, compressed recorded music) sometimes interferes with the details that make a piece work.

  • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:33PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @03:33PM (#1012004)

    Why ascribe remarkable superpowers to Leonardo when there's a simpler explanation. He just took a photo if Mona with the digital camera he'd invented to take upskirt photos of ladies climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa (see page 137 of the Leicester Codex) and copied from that.

  • (Score: 1, Redundant) by jelizondo on Wednesday June 24 2020, @05:59PM (2 children)

    by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 24 2020, @05:59PM (#1012072) Journal

    This superhuman trait, which top tennis and baseball players may also share

    Tennis and baseball players may have it but I don't know of any in that bunch who can paint like Leonardo.

    So you also need the talent to paint what you saw, and there you have it, it is the eye and the hand. (With a good brain in-between!)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @07:23PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24 2020, @07:23PM (#1012111)

      Elite athletes often have reaction times faster than normal people. Have you tried the "drop a dollar bill and catch between two fingers" bar game? Here's one version, https://interestingengineering.com/impossible-catch-dollar-bill-fingers [interestingengineering.com] The narrator uses 0.2 seconds for reaction time and calculates that the bill drops 20 cm in that time (but the bill is more like 15 cm long)...so most people can't catch it.

      My friend, an ex-Olympic cyclist, could catch the bill consistently when he was younger, even when it was choked up a bit, so his reaction time is about half of a normal person, or 0.1 seconds.

      In another domain, Ayrton Senna (Formula 1 champion) was recorded by the data system in his car reacting to the start of a slide--at about 5Hz. Normal humans struggle to operate closed loop at 2Hz.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @03:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @03:23AM (#1012286)

        It's almost like it's a skill that you can practice and get good at. Amazing.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Bot on Wednesday June 24 2020, @11:15PM (1 child)

    by Bot (3902) on Wednesday June 24 2020, @11:15PM (#1012190) Journal

    Use the Italian spelling, monna, accenting the N, unless you want the Italians in the room to snicker.
    Monna = madonna = donna = domina = woman (domina because Latins knew who rules in the house)
    Mona = cunt (same root, unsurprisingly).
    Lisa = diminutive of Elisa but also, referring to cloth, "threadbare", "thin to the extreme because of heavy use"
    So when talking about "mona lisa" the true Italian gentleman replies "no wonder she smiles"

    As for the painting, I would not bother queuing up to see it, the photos render it better than the real life small painting behind thick glass.

    --
    Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday June 25 2020, @08:34PM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 25 2020, @08:34PM (#1012611) Homepage Journal

      77 x 53 cm isn't a bad size for a painting. But if you can only see it from a distance behind armour-plated glass, it's too small. As my wife said after she saw it long ago.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @04:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25 2020, @04:52PM (#1012479)

    Mona Lisa is a tranny. It has masculine and feminine features. It is said that Da Vinci had a male lover whose features he combined with the said woman in painted form.

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