3
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
0 collections
    0
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: not found

      Investigating the 'Uncatchable Smile' in Leonardo da Vinci's La Bella Principessa: A Comparison with the Mona Lisa and Pollaiuolo's Portrait of a Girl

      Read this article at

      ScienceOpenPublisherPMC
      Bookmark
          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          This paper discusses how the 'Uncatchable Smile' illusion in Leonardo da Vinci's La Bella Principessa portrait was discovered. Kemp and Cotte 1 described the expression of the Princess as ambiguous and "subtle to an inexpressible degree". A combination of three methods was used (inter-observation, structured interviews, and psychophysical experiments) to identify what may underlie this 'ambiguity'. The inter-observation and the structured interview methods were firstly applied to generate experimental hypotheses that were successively tested by a series of psychophysical experiments. The combination of these research methods minimizes the impact of the researcher's beliefs and biases in the development of the research design. It emerged that the ambiguity in La Bella Principessa is triggered by a change in the perceived level of contentment in her facial expression and that this perceptual change is attributable to a visual illusion relating to her mouth. Moreover, it was found that a similar effect can be observed in the Mona Lisa. As the smile in La Bella Principessa disappears as soon as the viewer tries to 'catch it', we named this visual illusion the 'Uncatchable Smile'. The elusive quality of the Mona Lisa's smile 2 is probably why the portrait is so famous, and so the existence of a similar ambiguity in a portrait painted by Leonardo prior to the Mona Lisa is even more interesting.

          Related collections

          Author and article information

          Journal
          J Vis Exp
          J Vis Exp
          JoVE
          Journal of Visualized Experiments : JoVE
          MyJove Corporation
          1940-087X
          2016
          4 October 2016
          : 116
          Affiliations
          1Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics, Sheffield Hallam University
          Author notes

          Correspondence to: Alessandro Soranzo at a.soranzo@ 123456shu.ac.uk

          Article
          PMC5092164 PMC5092164 5092164 54248
          10.3791/54248
          5092164
          27768043
          Copyright © 2016, Journal of Visualized Experiments
          Categories
          Behavior

          Comments

          Comment on this article