|For centuries art historians and Leonardists. as some fans of Leonardo da Vinci are called, have pondered why the dark haired woman in his famous painting is smiling. A web site created by students and a computer graphics instructor at John F. Kennedy High School in Marble Hill, on the edge of the Bronx, offers a possible solution to this 16th-century enigma. The site, Why is the Mona Lisa Smiling? features an animated sequence that fuses the Mona Lisa's face with that of her creator's. "We feel she is smiling because of Leonardo's secret that the Mona Lisa, was in fact, a self portrait" said Steve Feld, the teacher who help his students set up the site. He noted that while Leonardo kepted careful notations of model sittings for other works, none were ever found for the "Mona Lisa". Mr. Feld and his students are not the first to put forth this theory of Leonardo's inside joke. The morphing Mona Lisa graphic is based on the work of Lillian Schwartz, author of The Computer Graphics Handbook (W.W. Norton, 1992) who says that when she digitized the Leonardo self portrait and the portrait of the Mona Lisa, and merging|
|the two images, she found the facial features to be perfectly aligned. The site, a collaborative effort from a high school in Sweden, was created in less than three months, in 1997 for a contest called ThinkQuest, a nonprofit group that promotes the creation of educational web sites by students. Mr. Feld said his students using inexpensive software and 15 year old Tandy computers that lacked mice, designed their site so that visitors using the most primitive browsers could have easy access.|
|What you see (and hear) Click on the Vitruvian hands or the site map to explore an esoteric collection of things Leonardo, from a picture of a recent plan by Norwegian highway planners to build a bow-shaped bridge that the artist designed five centuries ago to an American art collector's dream of casting a 24 foot Bronze Horse that was one of Leonardo's unfinished projects. In a section called "Original da Vinci Music" and billed as an Internet exclusive, the student Web masters have digitally produced a few bars of a Leonardo composition.
Links Many, including the dozen listed under "Leonardo Learning Links". From there a visitor can be transported to the home site of the Louvre or to the outlandish pages of the Mona MailArt Show, a Web site dedicated to Mona Lisa-inspired computer art such as pictures of her appearing as an "X- Files"-like alien visitor.
What you get An award winning informative site, that also doubles as a springboard to the wonderful world of Leonardo da Vinci.
RICHARD WEIRWhy is the Mona Lisa Smiling ?
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