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Dude Does Not Look Like a Lady

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 25, 2006 6:25PM

Researchers at the University of Illinois have determined that da Vinci’s famous painting of Mona Lisa is not the artist himself, despite widespread speculation.

According to the AP, U of I professor Thomas Huang and his students created facial recognition software that determined with a 60/40 probability that the woman depicted in the painting is, in fact, female. 2006_04_monalisa.jpgThis software was developed after scientists determined the use of shadow in the famous painting prevented them from seeing whether or not she had an Adam’s apple. Brimming with self-confidence, Huang said “Of course, nothing proves anything.” That’s some heavy metaphysical shit for your ass, especially coming from an electrical and computer engineering professor.

Still, Huang’s group believes it is unlikely that da Vinci was the model. The AP article states many believe Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant from Florence was the model though many other women are said to be the inspiration, including Leo’s mom, “the Duchess of Milan Isabella of Aragon and a female friend of the powerful Florentine Giuliano de Medici.”

Eventually this technology will have other applications in “security systems and making your computer more personal by getting it to recognize you and set itself up accordingly,” which should help prevent your roommate from finding all the tranny porn you downloaded to your iBook.

Having proved that Mona Lisa is not a man, Professor Huang did not say whether the group will now turn their attention to other Little Milton-related hypotheses, specifically whether eggs ain’t poultry or grits ain’t groceries.

Don’t forget, you can check out many of da Vinci’s innovations at the Museum of Science and Industry exhibit that runs through September 4th.