All my life I’d heard about the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic portrait of a young woman of Florence. The portrait is currently hanging in its own room in the Louvre in Paris.
When I saw it, however, it was hanging with other paintings of its era. I haven’t the slightest idea if they’ve re-framed the Mona Lisa, but when I saw it the portrait was under this ugly green glass. You weren’t allowed to take any photos (in the era before cell phones) due to fears the flash attachments would damage the painting.
Let’s just say that I was totally unimpressed. It was, in a word, ugly.
Da Vinci was renown for his skill as an anatomist. He studied the human body intensely, including its skeletal and muscular components. His enormous talent is evident in his drawings, sculptures, and paintings. (Isn’t it amazing that both Da Vinci and Michelangelo were so skilled in all three? Michelangelo’s Pieta is one of the most awe-inspiring pieces of art I’ve ever seen.)
Because Da Vinci was so skilled in portraying the human body a doctor has decided that the portrait reveals that Mona Lisa was ill. I guess the enigmatic smile is supposed to be a pained one. The doctor stated: “That, to me is a classic picture of clinical hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland.”
Frankly, I have hypothyroidism, but I don’t go around smiling like Mona Lisa. Or at least I hope I don’t.
It is a fascinating article, however.
Here’s the whole article and his diagnosis: https://www.inverse.com/article/48736-mona-lisa-smile-due-to-hypothyroidism