Leonardo da Vinci used poisonous pigments when he painted the Mona Lisa

detail from the Mona Lisa showing head and shoulders

Enlarge / A tiny fleck of paint, taken from the Mona Lisa, is revealing insights into beforehand unknown steps of Leonardo da Vinci’s course of. (credit score: Public area)

When Leonardo da Vinci was creating his masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, he could have experimented with lead oxide in his base layer, leading to hint quantities of a compound referred to as plumbonacrite. It varieties when lead oxides mix with oil, a standard combination to assist paint dry, utilized by later artists like Rembrandt. However the presence of plumbonacrite within the Mona Lisa is the primary time the compound has been detected in an Italian Renaissance portray, suggesting that da Vinci might have pioneered this method, based on the authors of a latest paper revealed within the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Fewer than 20 of da Vinci’s work have survived, and the Mona Lisa is by far essentially the most well-known, inspiring a 1950s hit music by Nat King Cole and that includes prominently in final 12 months’s Glass Onion: a Knives Out Thriller, amongst different popular culture mentions. The portray is in remarkably good situation given its age, however artwork conservationists and da Vinci students alike are wanting to study as a lot as doable concerning the supplies the Renaissance grasp used to create his works.

There have been some latest scientific investigations of da Vinci’s works, which revealed that he diverse the supplies used for his work, particularly in regards to the floor layers utilized between the picket panel floor and the following paint layers. As an example, for his Virgin and Youngster with St. Anne (c. 1503–1519), he used a typical Italian Renaissance gesso for the bottom layer, adopted by a lead white priming layer. However for La Belle Ferronniere (c. 1495–1497), da Vinci used an oil-based floor layer manufactured from white and pink lead.

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