London, March 16 (ANI): Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile was created by Leonardo Da Vinci using a special painting technique, which tricked people into believing that the expression was changing, a new study claims.
Austrian neurologists suggest Da Vinci was proficient at a technique called "sfumato", in which layers of paint are added on top of each another to create subtle changes in shading.
In his masterpiece the Mona Lisa, when the eyes are stared at, a smile seems to appear on her lips.
However, if the mouth is focused on, the smile disappears.
Professor Florian Hutzler, a psychology expert at the Centre for Neurocognitive Research in Salzburg, insists that a direct view of the painting makes visible soft layers of shading around the mouth.
It apparently makes the expression appear neutral.
However, in a peripheral vision, the same brush strokes merge to give the impression of a subtle smile.
"In Mona Lisa's mouth, there is a smile hidden. When you look directly on the mouth, you see the fine details, the smile disappears and there is only a neutral expression," the Telegraph quoted Hutzler, as saying.
He added: "Mona Lisa changes her expression depending on where you look at her face."
Professor Stephen Porter, a psychology expert at the University of British Columbia, said the study gives an idea on how people perceive facial expressions.
He said: "The most significant finding of this elegant, brilliant study was that people pick up on, and are influenced by, subtle information from another person's face at a subliminal level.
"It shows that we quickly analyse faces holistically but are not aware of this process. Our assessments of trustworthiness and attractiveness are affected in powerful ways by very subtle factors." (ANI)