Decoding Mona Lisa: Have archaeologists found the face behind the smile?
2013-08-14 0:00

By Liz Fuller-Wright | CSMonitor

Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, is likely based on Lisa del Giocondo, who lived in Florence at the turn of the 16th century. On Friday, archaeologists cut into the del Giocondo family crypt in hopes of confirming the identity of the Mona Lisa’s model.

The most mysterious smile in art history has spawned endless speculation. Who was the model? Why is she smiling? What does the background mean? Whole books have been devoted to musing about hidden messages in the painting, including asking whether the model was actually a man, or had bad teeth, or maybe was Leonardo da Vinci himself.

While speculation continues, most art historians have now coalesced around the idea that the model was a young woman named Lisa del Giocondo, née Lisa Gherardini. "Mona" is a contraction from "madonna," which in Italian means "my lady."

Are the historical Lisa and the subject of the Mona Lisa one and the same? Archaeologist and art historian Silvano Vinceti is determined to answer the question for once and for all, and he’s willing to cut into centuries-closed tombs to do it.

Silvano Vinceti (top) looks on as researchers open the tomb of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo at the Santissima Annunziata basilica in Florence, August 9. Researchers delved into the centuries-old Florentine tomb on Friday, looking for remains that could lead them to the true identity of the woman whose wry smile Leonardo da Vinci immortalized in his Mona Lisa (right).

In 1495, at the age of 15, young Lisa Gherardini became the third wife of a prosperous silk and cloth merchant, Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo. Francesco already had one son, Bartolomeo, and together Lisa and Francesco had five more: Piero, Camilla, Andrea, Giocondo, and Marietta. After Francesco’s death, Lisa retired into the Saint Ursula convent in Florence, where she is believed to have been buried.

The Mona Lisa was commissioned between 1503 and 1506, say researchers at the Louvre, when da Vinci was between patrons and thus perhaps looking for private work. He did not finish it – and was not paid for it – and he ultimately took the painting with him when he moved to France, a decade later. The painting entered the collection of King Francis I, da Vinci’s final patron, and was one of the original pieces of art in the Louvre collection.

Last year, Mr. Vinceti’s team dug up crypts under the basement of the convent believed to be Lisa del Giocondo’s final resting place. "After 1500, only two women were buried here: Mona Lisa Gherardini, in 1542, and another noblewoman, Maria del Riccio," said a statement from researchers. Other historians challenge that, pointing out that hundreds of women were buried at the convent, and existing records are sparse.

Vinceti found the remains of eight women in the crypt, three of which were sent for carbon dating.


Read the full article at:

Related Articles
Scientists Make the Smallest Mona Lisa
’Second’ Mona Lisa Deemed Authentic
Mona Lisa Beamed to the Moon by NASA
Mona Lisa Was a Man, Maybe
Mona Lisa Code: Italian Researcher Finds Clue in Mona Lisa’s Eyes

Latest News from our Front Page

The Pilgrims Were Definitely Not Like Modern-Day Refugees
2015-11-27 20:01
This upcoming Thanksgiving Day is sure to offer you and your family plenty of opportunities to argue over whether America should be welcoming Syrian refugees. If you have any liberal relatives or friends coming over for your Thursday feast, they’re going to relish the chance to tell everyone that the Pilgrims were refugees too — and hope that statement decimates all ...
ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
2015-11-26 3:33
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.  A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today. It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
2015-11-26 1:07
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape. Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15. The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
2015-11-25 22:56
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material: No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed! ... From: Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
2015-11-25 21:05
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris. Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
More News »