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© Pascal Cotte / Lumiere on the Lady with an Ermine




Press release



Lumière on the Lady with an Ermine



28 Unpublished  discoveries


The Lady with an Ermine had no ermine! Thanks to a new scientific imaging method, Pascal Cotte gives us this revelation, and 27 other discoveries, in his latest book.

The work of this engineer, famous for having scanned the Mona Lisa

radically change our view oN the work of Leonardo da Vinci.


LUMIERE TECHNOLOGY and Pascal Cotte have the privilege of being invited into the largest museums in the world to analyze the most famous paintings, Van Gogh, Goya, Poussin, Picasso and several works of Leonardo da Vinci, including "Mona Lisa" and "La Belle Ferronnière " at the Louvre.

He participated in the discovery of the thirteenth painting by Leonardo da Vinci " La Bella Principessa "

He has written a book - Lumière on the Lady with an Ermine  - (.. 288 pp / 284 ill) that explains the innovative scientific method used to make these discoveries and their historical consequences.


His revelations change our view on the work of Leonardo da Vinci and what scholars believed they knew. This book sheds light on a little known aspect of Leonardo: be a hesitant, inventive and unconventional painter.


The images came from a new scientific technique called imaging L.A.M. (Layer Amplification Method) These reveal successive layers of paint, erasing the superimposed brush strokes and reconstructing the chronology and the evolution of the painting.


You will discover how Leonardo di Ser Pietro altered this portrait. His perpetual quest for perfection takes him where research led to a dead end. He hesitates, tries, start over, experiments, remakes, again and again. Finally, he shows us a human face of a genius. A genius at work.


The author shows that the Lady with an Ermine was carried out in three stages. The first version has no ermine. It's a beautiful court portrait in the manner of La Belle Ferronnière.

In the second he adds a small plain ermine, to finish with the current version in which the ermine is turned into a heraldic animal with exaggerated proportions and one lion's paw.


Images from laboratory, X-ray and Infrared, let one to believe until now that she was painted in one go.



This work is the result of hard work, trial and error.

The X-rays show a ghost ; there is almost nothing to see.

The infrared images reveal a little more, but do not allow us to understand.



The L.A.M. technique revolutionizes the analysis of this painting, uncovering the unexpected.


The L.A.M. technique is based on multispectral images, in the case of which scientifically measurable technical qualities are exceptional.


The reflection of light on the painting is recorded by the camera at several wavelengths (filters), 13 times. It generates 3.2 billion pieces of information.


The L.A.M. technique is based on the analysis of these data.


The interaction of light with materials of painting (binders, pigments) is the result of multiple optical and physical phenomena. This is as much information that reveal the composition of the layers of the paint. Using mathematical tools for signal processing (derivative calculation, maximum entropy, Fourier transform, statistical, etc.) allows us to retrieve the information hidden inside the layers of the paint.


Each calculation provided a picture. Parameter combinations generate thousands of images.

The most tedious work is the analysis of images. Sometimes it takes months or in this case three years.


The images are cut into mosaics for a rigorous and orderly study.

The thousands of pictures of each small square are reviewed very quickly, as in a video to multiple images per second to detect tiny variations in shades.

The most interesting are set aside for further analysis.


The information is classified by type (lines, contours, gradients, strokes, etc.) and theme (face, color, landscape, hands, etc.). They are then overlaid with the paint as it appears today.


From this comparison comes understanding. There then emerges one or more interpretations and the ability to present one or more hypotheses.


These hypotheses are strengthened when a lot of overlapping information is gathered. That is to say, if they are coherent and logical.


The revelations about the Lady with an Ermine sets alight the world of the history of art, the conservators, restorers, and the informed public. They do the effect of a deflagration as they revolutionize our knowledge of his painting technique .


Specialists historians of Leonard discover a hidden face of the genius.


Unanimously we thought he painted in one draft. We have been familiar with Leonardo's pentimenti, or slight differences from the drawings, (eg "The Virgin of the Rocks") but never such extensive repainting as here. We would never dare to imagine he made, erased and remade several times profoundly changing his composition.


This book discovers:


- A new analysis technique - called L.A.M. - Who allows us to see inside the paint layers, unlike traditional X-ray and infrared technology that can see only behind the paint layer.



- 28 unpublished revelations, changing the painting's History. The reader discovers that Leonardo had first painted a traditional court portrait WITHOUT an ermine, then he added a real SMALL ermine, and finally turn it into an allegorical animal with a lion's paw.


- The fingerprints of Leonardo and the reasons for their use in the technique of painting.


- We discover a perfectionist Leonardo, who makes​​, removes, changes, removes again and start over.


- This book is the fruit of hard work, reviewed by historians (see Reading Committee), specialists and Chief Curator of The Lady with an Ermine in Krakow (Poland), which sees the most fascinating discovery of this century on Leonardo da Vinci.


"The Lady with an Ermine" by Leonardo da Vinci currently on display at Wawel Castle in Krakow.



Vinci Editions

September 2014.




Books «  Lumière on The Lady with an Ermine » and «  Lumière sur La Dame à l’Hermine » 

Hard cover

288 pages ; 284 pictures; size 31.3 x 24.3 x 3 cm ; 1.93 kg

Author : Pascal Cotte

Date: September 15th, 2014

Editeur : Vinci Editions (N° 978-2-9548258)

Matter : Art - Beaux-Arts

Price : 49 €


English version :

Lumiere on The Lady with an Ermine

ISBN/EAN : 9782954825816

SKU Amazon : 8A-2IK4-92HM

ASIN Amazon :  2954825812


French version :

Lumiere sur La Dame à l’Hermine

ISBN/EAN : 9782954825809

SKU Amazon : NG-NSG6-4W33

ASIN Amazon :  2954825804



Available on :

Amazon September 15th, 2014