Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have used computer graphics software to reproduce Leonardo da Vinci's oil painting Salvator Mundi in order to study how light would be refracted through different kinds of glass orbs.
In the original painting, Jesus is holding a glass orb representing the celestial sphere of the heavens. Such a sphere ought to act as a convex lens, magnifying and inverting the robes behind it, but the robes in the painting appear with minimal distortion.
Said researcher Marco Liang, "With the virtual scene ready, we tested whether the orb was solid by comparing renderings of a solid and a hollow orb."
The researchers concluded that the orb is not solid, but instead a hollow sphere with a radius of 6.8 centimeters and a thickness of just 1.3 millimeters.
From MIT Technology Review (01/02/20)
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