Art detectives have discovered tiny letters and numbers placed in the eyes of the Mona Lisa.
Like something out of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code the tiny letters have been identified for the first time under magnification, in the right eye the letters spell out Da Vinci's own initials LV suggesting that he placed them there deliberately.
Intrigue is usually focused on her enigmatic smile.
But the Mona Lisa was at the centre of a new mystery yesterday after art detectives took a fresh look at the masterpiece – and noticed something in her eyes.
Hidden in the dark paint of her pupils are tiny letters and numbers, placed there by the artist Leonardo da Vinci and revealed only now thanks to high-magnification techniques.
Experts say the barely distinguishable letters and numbers represent something of a real-life Da Vinci code.
The revelation could have come straight from the pages of Dan Brown’s best-seller The Da Vinci Code, in which the Mona Lisa is said to contain hidden clues about the Holy Grail.
Silvano Vinceti, president of Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage, which spotted the symbols, said: ‘To the naked eye the symbols are not visible but with a magnifying glass they can clearly be seen.
‘In the right eye appear to be the letters LV which could well stand for his name, Leonardo da Vinci, while in the left eye there are also symbols but they are not as defined.
‘It is very difficult to make them out clearly but they appear to be the letters CE, or it could be the letter B.
‘In the arch of the bridge in the background the number 72 can be seen or it could be an L and the number 2.
‘You have to remember the picture is almost 500 years old so it is not as sharp and clear as when first painted.
‘From the preliminary investigations we have carried out we are confident they are not a mistake and were put there by the artist.
Read more at Mona Lisa Mystery