Using reflective light technology, Cotte believes he has found the hidden portrait that he has been searching for for over 10 years. Despite Cotte's claims, The Louvre has declined to comment and expressed that the museum was not part of the investigation into the second portrait.

Multispectral imaging claims to reveal a second portrait underneath the Mona Lisa Image via BBC Multispectral imaging claims to reveal a second portrait underneath the Mona Lisa
Image via BBC

Cotte, who pioneered the Layer Amplification Method (LAM) used to analyse the painting, is the co-founder of Lumiere Technology in Paris.

Cotte revealed his findings in Shanghai on Tuesday as the Da Vinci - The Genius exhibition travelled to Shanghai. The exhibition features Cotte's research on the Mona Lisa.

Cotte's claims will in no doubt challenge and divide Da Vinci experts. He believes the image of Mona Lisa was reconstructed on top of the original, which is a different woman. Cotte believes the woman underneath the image of the Mona Lisa is not Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant, the identity that is widely recognised as that of the mysterious Mona Lisa.

Cotte commented: "The results shatter many myths and alter our vision of Leonardo's masterpiece forever.''

"When I finished the reconstruction of Lisa Gherardini, I was in front of the portrait and she is totally different to Mona Lisa today. This is not the same woman."

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