A uncommon chemical compound referred to as plumbonacrite has been discovered on the underpainting of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which sheds gentle on his processes, in keeping with new analysis.
The presence of the compound was discovered utilizing X-ray and infrared microanalyses by a staff of researchers, led by Université Paris-Saclay scientist Victor Gonzalez and France’s Nationwide Heart for Scientific Analysis, who revealed the examine Wednesday within the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
“The thriller of the Mona Lisa lies not a lot in her smile as within the portray methods utilized by Leonardo da Vinci. Artist, engineer and architect, da Vinci was additionally an experimental chemist, with the Mona Lisa being his veritable laboratory,” the researchers stated in a information launch.
The researchers studied an “distinctive microsample” of da Vinci’s preparatory undercoat and located he used thick layers of lead white pigment and infused his oil with lead monoxide (PbO), which is now recognized to be poisonous. The method is “very completely different to that often noticed in oil work from this era,” in keeping with the analysis staff.
“Leonardo most likely endeavored to organize a thick paint appropriate for masking the picket panel of the Mona Lisa by treating the oil with a excessive load of lead II oxide, PbO,” the researchers wrote in supporting data to the examine.
Moreover, Gonzalez and his staff decided that the portray contained a a lot rarer and unstable lead compound, plumbonacrite, which has additionally been discovered on fragments of his portray The Final Supper.
Plumbonacrite had not beforehand been detected in Italian Renaissance work, although earlier analysis has discovered the compound in works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent Van Gogh.
Within the newest examine, the researchers additionally scoured da Vinci’s journals for mentions of phrases and variant spellings that would supply additional clues about how he made the yellow pigment wherein the plumbonacrite was discovered.
These phrases embody: giallo, gialo, calo, gallo, gialio, gialli, giali, ciali, giallolino, gialolino, gialorino, Letargirio, litarge, litharge, Macicot, masticot, and massicot.
The evaluation revealed 144 occurrences of the phrase “giallo” and its variants, however often to designate the colour fairly than a selected pigment. Nonetheless, most of those occurrences didn’t embody any additional descriptions that would assist figuring out the chemical nature of this “yellow” and Leonardo’s course of in making it.
The analysis was carried out in coordination with France’s Tradition Ministry, the Louvre Museum, and the Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
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