Hidden Mona Lisa 'Code' Could Reveal Her True Identity
Real-life Da Vinci Code plays out in Italy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Suggested by savageviking
Posted Dec 13, 2010 7:50 AM CST
A group of Italian scientists is seeking permission from French authorities to dig up Leonardo Da Vinci's body in order to determine whether the Mona Lisa was actually a self-portrait in disguise.   (AP Photo/Reunion de Musees Nationaux di Parigi and Journal des Arts)

(Newser) – Want to know the true identity of the Mona Lisa? Just look deep into her eyes. Art historians have discovered miniscule numbers and letters painted there, and believe they might give a clue as to who sat for Leonardo Da Vinci's 500-year-old masterpiece. A group in Italy magnified high resolution images of the painting in order to find the "code," which is not visible to the naked eye, one researcher tells the Telegraph. "LV" appears in the right eye, likely standing for the artist's own name.

In the left eye, the letters are more difficult to make out and could be "CE" or possibly "B" or "S," the Guardian adds. In the background, the number "72" appears—or it could be "L2." Researchers were alerted to the mystery after finding a 50-year-old book claiming that signs and symbols were present in the painting. "We are confident they are not a mistake and were put there by the artist," says one, adding that the number "149," with a fourth number erased, on the back indicates Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa in Milan in the 1490s and used a woman from the Duke of Milan's court as a model. Click here for more secrets of the Mona Lisa.