Decoding Mona Lisa: Have archaeologists found the face behind the smile?
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: csmonitor.com
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 Truth About Starbucks New Coconut Milk: It Isn’t Really Coconut Milk
In an attempt to appeal to the non-dairy crowd, Starbucks is bringing “coconut milk” to the masses. After a successful trial run in select cities at the behest of their customers, Starbucks has decided to push forward with their dairy alternative.
Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, ...
USDA on board with shipping U.S. chickens to China for processing, then re-entry to States for human consumption
“Chinese chicken” will soon have a whole new meaning, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave the green-light to four chicken processing plants in China, allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be exported to China for processing, and then shipped back to the U.S. and sold on grocery shelves here. Furthermore, the imported processed ...
Feinstein: Netanyahu does not speak for all Jews
US Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an “arrogant” man who does not speak for all Jews.
The Jewish lawmaker made the remarks in an interview with CNN on Sunday ahead of Netanyahu's controversial visit to the United States.
The Israeli premier arrived in Washington, DC, on Sunday night ...
Netanyahu to US: Don’t negotiate ‘bad deal’ with Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the United States not to negotiate “a very bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
Speaking at a joint session of the US Congress in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Netanyahu said, “We’ve been told for over a year that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a ...
School Textbook: “There’s No Such Thing as Reverse Racism” Only White People can be Racist
Only white people can be racist.
A school textbook teaches students that “there is no such thing as reverse racism” and that women can never be as sexist as men.
The passage, which appears to be taken from a “multicultural education series” book entitled Is Everyone Equal, states, “STOP: There is no such thing as reverse racism or reverse sexism (or the ...
|More News » |