Over the years, there have been suggestions that the enigmatic portrait that is known as the Mona Lisa is actually a portrait of the artist, Leonardo DaVinci, painted as a woman, which is why the sitters identity has been lost to history. In the movie and book The DaVinci Code, it’s alleged that the person sitting next to Jesus in his Last Supper painting is actually Mary Magdalene, rather than St. John. Now a Japanese forensics experts says he has recreated the Mona Lisa’s voice?as well as DaVinci’s own voice.
Carl Friere writes in LiveScience.com that Ig Nobel Prize winner Matsumi Suzuki, who is an expert in voice analysis, says he has recreated the voice of the not only the woman who sat for the portrait, he has recreated DaVinci’s voice as well (assuming they are not the same person).
Suzuki won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his invention of a device that translates dog language into Japanese. The Ig Nobel awards are presented annually at Harvard University.
The first thing Suzuki had to do was determine Mona Lisa’s measurements, including her height, which he thinks was 5 feet 6 inches. This was quite tall for a woman the 16th century, when DaVinci painted. He then fed this data through voice simulation programs. He hired a native Italian speaker in order to get the correct voice inflections. However, the Italian that Mona Lisa spoke would be quite different from the Italian spoken today.
For DaVinci’s voice, Suzuki used a self-portrait of the artist. However, this portrait (unlike the Mona Lisa, if that’s also a self-portrait) shows the painter wearing a full beard, which made it difficult to estimate his measurements.
And what does “Mona Lisa” mean in Italian? It means “Jolly Lady,” which would be appropriate if DaVinci was using this painting to play yet ANOTHER joke on his admirers.
To learn more, click here, then click on the Japanese writing underneath each portrait to hear the voice.
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