Mona Lisa
Italian researcher has claimed that a male model and probably his 'lover' is Leonardo da Vinci's influence in painting his famous portrait Reuters

Dan Brown's bestseller Da Vinci Code may have to be re-written in the light of new revelations from an Italian team of researchers who said they found letters and numbers in the world famous painting.

Head of the team, Silvano Vinceti, said, To the naked (eye) the symbols are not visible but with a magnifying glass they can clearly be seen.

They found it while studying the painting at Louvre museum in Paris. We know Da Vinci used symbols so we are confident that they are a message from him, he told Daily Mail.

In the right eye the letter LV were found which could mean Da Vinci's name and in the left eye some symbols were seen but it is difficult to make them out but they appear to be the letters C and E or B he said.

The team of art historians from Italy's National Cultural Heritage Committee also found the figure 72 or an L and a 2 in the background of the portrait. The team said they examined the eyes after a book in an antique shop revealed that there were hidden letters in the eyes of Mona Lisa painting by Da Vinci.

Brushing aside the claims made by the Italian team, Fredericksburg Da Vinci scholar Bulent Atalay said, I think they're just scratches, frankly. And at 54, when Leonardo painted that painting, I don't think he could have seen well enough to make any symbols in there, Atalay told 9News Now.

The painting, which completed 500 years in 2006, remains enigmatic with its unique smile which is attributed to optical illusion.

Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code revolves around a plot that focuses on the hidden message about the Holy Grail in Mona Lisa painting. Brown has also brought into his plot Da Vinci's other famous painting The Last Supper when Jesus announced that one of his 12 Apostles would betray him.