Volume 37, Issue 6 (November 1992)
Mona Lisa: The Enigma of the Smile
The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, 1503, pictures a smile that has been long the subject of conjecture. It is believed, however, that the Mona Lisa does not smile; she wears an expression common to people who have lost their front teeth. A close-up of the lip area shows a scar that is not unlike that left by the application of blunt force. The changes evident in the perioral area are such that occur when the anterior teeth are lost. The scar under the lower lip of the Mona Lisa is similar to that created, when, as a result of force, the incisal edges of the teeth have pierced the face with a penetrating wound.