Today I got a chance to see the Da Vinci exhibit at OMSI. I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special, but boy was I wrong! It was like a crash course in engineering/art/history with the coolest teacher around. They took sketches from his notebooks (one of which is owned by Bill Gates, go figure) and built models of Da Vinci’s inventions, explained the Virtuvian Man in full detail, had gigantic prints of his sketches all over the walls, and there was an entire sub-exhibit devoted to the Mona Lisa.
Personally, I was never a huge fan of the painting, because it’s so dark and yellowish. But in this exhibit, they show it how it looked when it was freshly painted. All I can say is wow, I was wrong, it’s beautiful.
This new/old look at this painting is possible because of a special photography method perfected by Pascal Cotte, a French engineer. He scans the painting using 13 different channels (from ultra-violet to infrared), which allows him to see more than the naked eye could. Then he uses his tech-magic, compiles all that info, and we have our shiny new Mona Lisa! Here he explains his method, with nice detail shots of the painting.