Berlin-Leonardo da Vinci could have pioneered the world’s first 3D image by painting two similar portraits of the Mona Lisa, it has been claimed.

The Renaissance artist produced two almost identical copies, which when viewed next to one another would create the impression of depth, according to German art researchers.

The effect would reportedly be similar to superimposed images used today to create the impression of three-dimensional drawings, which are often viewed with red and blue tinted glasses. The extraordinary theory was revealed in a paper by Claus-Christian Carbon and Vera Hesslinger, according to the Huffington Post. It relies on a similar painting to the Mona Lisa - unveiled in 2012 - being produced by the artist himself rather than a student, as has been theorised.

The researchers analysed the copy, called the ‘Prado Mona Lisa’, at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain, as well as the famous portrait of Mona Lisa that hangs at Paris’s Louvre museum.