Scientist claims to have found another portrait behind Mona Lisa

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Scientist Claims To Have Found Another Portrait Behind Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa, which hangs at the Louvre in Paris, is among the most famous and photographed paintings of all time, but a scientist in France says the artwork may not be what many believe.

Pascal Cotte claims he found another portrait painted beneath the one we see today, and that woman is the real Lisa referenced in the name.

​Related: Picasso painting reveals hidden man

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Picasso painting reveals hidden man
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Scientist claims to have found another portrait behind Mona Lisa
This undated handout image provided by The Phillips Collection shows an infrared image of Pablo Picasso’s "The Blue Room," painted in 1901. Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath the painting. Advances in infrared imagery reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers. Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he? It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. (AP Photo/The Phillips Collection)
"The Blue Room," one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces sits under a microscope at The Phillips Collection, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Washington. Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath the painting. Advances in infrared imagery reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers. Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he? It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
"The Blue Room," one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces at The Phillips Collection, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Washington. Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath the painting. Advances in infrared imagery reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers. Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he? It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
"The Blue Room," one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces sits under a microscope at The Phillips Collection, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Washington. Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath the painting. Advances in infrared imagery reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers. Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he? It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
"The Blue Room," one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces sits in a vertical orientation in front of an infared camera at The Phillips Collection, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Washington. Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath the painting. Advances in infrared imagery reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers. Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he? It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
"The Blue Room," one of Pablo Picasso's first masterpieces sits under a microscope at The Phillips Collection, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in Washington. Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath the painting. Advances in infrared imagery reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand, with three rings on his fingers. Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he? It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Taylor Holliday, right, admires Pablo Picasso's The Blue Room as Jay Gates, left, Director of The Phillips Collection, guides a tour through the European Masterworks from The Phillips Collection now on exhibit at The Frist Center Friday, Jan. 30, 2004 in Nashville, Tenn. The exhibit features more than 50 of the best-loved paintings and sculptures from The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/John Russell)
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For some time, an abundance of experts have agreed the woman depicted is Lisa Gherardini, a silk merchant's wife.

Cotte asserts the hidden image he discovered is the real Lisa, and the famous woman painted over the original figure is someone else entirely.

In finding the alleged original painting, the scientist used a technique called Layer Amplification Method, which uses blasts of intense light and assesses reflections.

After 10 years of analysis, his work resulted in a composite of a woman also seated for a portrait but looking off to the side and lacking the famed smile.

The Louvre has not commented on Cotte's assertion, but a number of scholars have stepped forward to discredit the finding.

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