Now let me tell you something

Quick: Name the world's most famous painting. That may be a matter of personal preference. But perhaps you'd agree that "La Gio- conda" (better known as "Portrait of Mona Lisa") would be high on the list. The enigmatic smile of the wife of a wealthy Florentine businessman has intrigued viewers since Leonardo da Vinci captured her likeness in oil on wood. It hangs in the Louvre in Paris, which is where Matsumi Suzuki recently took meticulous measurements of her face and hands. To gain an insight on that smile? No, to determine how she probably sounded when she spoke five centuries ago. Suzuki, you see, isn't an art expert; he's an acoustics technician who often aids in criminal investigations and in film dubbing through human voice prints, each of which is unique to the speaker. Using those measurements, he came up with estimates of the lady's height and a model of her skull. And from that, he was able to re-create – with what he says is 90 percent accuracy – the quality and tone of her voice. "We have [done this with] a lot of famous people that were very close to the real thing ," he told journalists. So what words has Suzuki put in her mouth – ah – so to speak? "I am," she says, "the Mona Lisa. My identity is shrouded in mystery." That's it: He doesn't pretend to have an explanation for the smile either.

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