Home

The Infamous ‘Mona Lisa Effect’ Isn’t Real After All

By Sharelle Burt

Share

The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the most famous paintings of all time. Hanging from a wall inside the Louvre Museum in Paris, there is a mystery behind her piercing eyes.

Called the ‘Mona Lisa Effect,’ the story says that Mona Lisa’s eyes follow museum visitors wherever they go. It has been a fun fact for years, but experts have finally proven that it’s not true. Researchers from Bielefeld University’s Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology say that the effect is “undeniable and demonstrable.” They used 24 different test subjects, sat them at a computer with the Mona Lisa image on the screen and made them look at a ruler and tell which number at which her gaze was directed.

RELATED: 5 Museums In Paris To Visit Besides The Louvre 

Different parts of the paintings were used to make that conclusion. The ruler was placed at two different distances between the subjects and the monitor. The results were a little shocking, especially for those who believed heavily in the legend. Researchers found that her gaze wasn’t exactly straight-on but shockingly, Mona Lisa’s eyes landed on the viewers’ right-side and there is a little math involved.  “More specifically, the gaze angle was 15.4 degrees on average,” Dr. Gernot Horstmann said. He said that the effect is “nothing but a misnomer.” Hortsmann found that the effect only works “if the person portrayed looks straight ahead out of the image, that is, at a gaze angle of 0 degrees.”

With every legend comes some new way to prove it isn’t true. One doctor started that Mona Lisa’s smile is more of an indication that she had a disease. “The enigma of the ‘Mona Lisa’ can be resolved by a simple medical diagnosis of a hypothyroidism-related illness,” Dr. Mandeep Mehra said. The writer of a letter posted in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Dr, Mehra, and co-writer Hilary Campbell, claims the subject had an underactive thyroid gland. It is easy to tell due to her skin tone, receding hairline, lack of eyebrows, and swelled hands.

Who knew you could diagnose someone through a painting?


Share
Travel Noire

Sharelle Burt

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

13 Hospitalized In Boston After Falling Ill On American Airlines Flight

13 Hospitalized In Boston After Falling Ill On American Airlines Flight

A group of children and chaperones fell ill aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami to Boston and had to be taken to the hospital on April 21, according to local reports. The Boston Globe reported that 13 passengers who had traveled to Ecuador were evaluated at a local hospital after reportedly contracting food poisoning. […]

Victoria M. Walker

Video Of Man Using Plane Toilet Barefoot Sparks Social Media Debate

Video Of Man Using Plane Toilet Barefoot Sparks Social Media Debate

Would you use a restroom on a plane without shoes or socks? The question has sparked a debate online after video footage of a man exiting a plane toilet barefoot has gone viral on Instagram. Related Post: Here’s Why You Don’t Want To Use Airline Blankets The 8-second video, posted to the Instagram account PassengerShaming, […]

Parker Diakite

More Than 200 Killed In Sri Lanka Church And Hotel Bombings On Easter Sunday

More Than 200 Killed In Sri Lanka Church And Hotel Bombings On Easter Sunday

More than 200 people are dead and hundreds more are wounded after a series of bombings across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. A total of eight bombs went off in Colombo, the country’s capital, in three churches and three luxury hotels, as reported in CTV News. Witnesses described powerful explosions, followed by scenes of smoke, […]

Parker Diakite