Decoding da Vinci
Decoding da Vinci
Discover the science behind Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces—and Mona Lisa's iconic smile.

Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance genius. Not only did he paint masterpieces of art, but he was an obsessive scientist and inventor, dreaming up complex machines centuries ahead of his time, including parachutes, armored tanks, hang gliders, and robots. On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, with the help of biographer Walter Isaacson, NOVA investigates the secrets of Leonardo’s success. How did his scientific curiosity, from dissections of cadavers to studies of optics, shape his genius and help him create perhaps the most famous painting of all time, the "Mona Lisa"? 


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 04:47 How Did da Vinci Make a Perfect Painting?
  • 09:07 The Original Mona Lisa
  • 14:29 The Early Life of Leonardo da Vinci: Engineer, Scientist, Artist
  • 23:41 The Science of Painting: Restoring a da Vinci Masterpiece
  • 29:17 Modern Day Painters Using da Vinci’s Process
  • 32:24 Leonardo da Vinci’s Anatomical Accuracy
  • 39:36 Mona Lisa’s Smile: Do Our Eyes Trick Us?
  • 44:21 Shocking Result of the Restoration of Bacchus
  • 46:13 Digital Restoration of the Mona Lisa
  • 50:28 Conclusion
Author, educator, musician, dancer and all around creative type. Founder of "The Happy Now" website and the online jewelry store "Silver and Sage".

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