Florence, Italy – The Mona Lisa mystery may soon be resolved. A group of researchers are unearthing the skeleton of the famous Leonardo da Vinci model who was featured in a painting otherwise known as “La Gioconda.” According to CNN, old city records say the woman who posed for the painting, Lisa Gherardini, the second wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was buried in a Florence convent.
Why go to all this trouble to unearth the skeleton of the woman who posed for da Vinci more than 500 years ago? Long have people speculated over the identity of the woman whose enigmatic smile has captivated the world. This Mona Lisa mystery has even led some to think that the Mona Lisa was a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, where he portrayed himself as a woman. The original painting was supposed to be dark and depressive, with the famous Mona Lisa smile being added later, and speculation has the smile belonging to da Vinci’s longtime assistant Gian Giacomo Caprotti.
“Once we identify the remains,” says Silvano Vinceti, leader of the researcher team, “we can reconstruct the face, with a margin of error of 2 to 8 percent. By doing this, we will finally be able to answer the question the art historians can’t: Who was the model for Leonardo?”
The remains of the potential da Vinci model will be sent for DNA testing to several universities in Italy and abroad where they will be checked against the DNA of two confirmed relatives of Lisa Gherardini buried elsewhere. After piecing together Gherardini’s skull fragments, researchers will be able to digitally reconstruct her face, factoring in that she was probably in her early 20s when she posed for da Vinci.
The DNA tests and the digital reconstruction of Gherardini’s face will take several months to complete. Regardless of the results, people will still likely debate the mystery of the Mona Lisa and how it actually came to be created.
“This is the magic of a great genius who eludes classification, around whom remains a fog of mystery,” said Vinceti. “I am under no illusion that we will be able to solve the mystery of the ‘Mona Lisa.’ ”
What do you think is the actual truth behind the Mona Lisa mystery? Do you think the smile belongs to Lisa Gherardini or that we’re peering into the past to see Leonardo da Vinci himself?