Moona Lisa

In 1997, I remixed the Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting Mona Lisa into 142 perfectly spaced color beads placed at the intersections of an imaginary two-dimensional triangular network. Close up, the picture of the set of beads makes no sense, but if you see it from a distance you will perceive (or at least ‘guess’?) the portrait of Mona Lisa, the most famous Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting.

hidden mona lisa
Hidden Mona Lisa (1997), © Gianni A. Sarcone

I revamped my op art work in 2021 by using instead of beads a palette of Moons, naturally colored by effect of atmospheric scattering, shot by Italian astrophotographer Marcella Giulia Pace.

Moona Lisa
Moona Lisa (2021), © Gianni A. Sarcone & Marcella Giulia Pace
Moona Lisa, close up
Moona Lisa, print
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The visual effect of this pixelated illusion is somewhat similar to the optic artwork of Salvador Dalí called “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln”, painted in 1976.

On October 16th, 2001, for the International Observe the Moon Night 2021, “Moona Lisa” has been selected as APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) by the NASA. You can also listen the interesting explanations given on Youtube regarding this Op Art.

My op art work combines science, art, observation, perception, illusion, and ingenuity, that’s why it is a perfect tribute to Leonardo da Vinci. It also serves to demonstrate the remarkable ability of our brain in recognizing faces, even when they are obscured in one way or another, along with its capacity to discriminate between picking out fine details in some precise situations, and broader details in others.

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Animated Moona Lisa