The woman who inspired Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa portrait may have been found by a group of researchers in Italy.
According to MSNBC, researchers uncovered several skeletons in the basement of a former Ursuline convent in Florence last year. The team believes that Lisa Gheradini Del Giocondo, the woman who many believe inspired Da Vinci’s most famous work, was buried at the convent.
But in order to identify which skeleton belongs to Giocondo the team must perform a DNA test.
Silvano Vinceti, who heads Italy’s national committee for cultural heritage, said that another tomb in Florence may contain some of Giocondo’s relatives. The tomb was opened for the first time today and researchers are now working to collect DNA samples.
Vinceti said: “Right now we are carrying out carbon-14 tests on three of the eight skeletons found in St. Ursula… The carbon-14 test will tell us which of the three dates back to the 1500s. Only then will we know which skeleton to do the final DNA test on.”
Vincenti said that once the woman who inspired the Mona Lisa is identified they will begin a digital reconstruction of her face. This will give art lovers their first look at the real woman behind the enigmatic smile.
NBC News reports that Francesco Del Giocondo, a Florentine cloth merchant, paid Leonardo Da Vinci to create a portrait of his wife Lisa in 1502 to celebrate the birth of her second child. That painting is now one of the most famous pieces of art in the world and is frequently the topic of debate. Just what was she smiling at?
Vincenti’s work may not be able to answer that question but he is hoping to solve a small piece of the puzzle.
Are you interested to see what the real Mona Lisa looked like?