Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Will The Real Mona Lisa Please Stand Up?

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Excavations at Florence’s Sant’Orsola convent

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is a famous painting that draws millions to the Louvre Museum in Paris each year and that has an interesting history of its own. One of its mysteries is the identity of the model who sat for the artist in 1504, although some historians have theorized she could have been Lisa Ghirardini Del Giocondo, the wife of a rich silk merchant who died around 1542.

In 2011, Prof.Silvano Vinceti, head of the Italian National Committee for the valuation of historic, cultural and environmental assets, had expressed his belief to the Associated Press that Leonardo had painted the Mona Lisa at various intervals and had used various sources of inspiration, among whom were his apprentice Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, and Beatrice D’Este, wife of the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. His statement caused many negative reactions among researchers and historians.

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Prof. Silvano Vinceti

In 2012, Prof.Vinceti unearthed various skeletal remains in the basement of Florence’s Sant’Orsola convent, where it is known the wife of wealthy Florentine merchant Francesco Del Giocondo died in the mid-16th century, and believe to have identified the model’s bones. Since then, the tests on bones of the purported Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo have ascertained that they date back to the same period as that of the famous enigmatic half-smile woman who sat for what would become probably the world’s most famous painting.

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Prof. Giorgio Gruppioni and an assistant at work.

Italian authorities announced that, on April 29, Italian forensic anthropologists Giorgio Gruppioni and Antonio Moretti’s team of experts will open a family tomb inside Florence’s Santissima Annunziata church and will take DNA samples from the remains of Francesco Del Giocondo and his children and compared them to the DNA test that was performed on the woman’s remains to establish whether Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo actually was the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

In case the DNAs can be tied to each other, experts will reconstruct the woman’s skull to verify whether it bears likeness to the painting, and if so, it could be the confirmation that Lisa Gherardini is the famous Mona Lisa and a mystery will be finally solved.leonardo

Tiziano Thomas Dossena
Tiziano Thomas Dossenahttp://tizianodossena.info
Tiziano Thomas Dossena is the Editorial Director of L’Idea Magazine. He is the author of “Caro Fantozzi” (2008), “Dona Flor, An Opera by van Westerhout” (2010), "Sunny Days and Sleepless Nights" (2016), "The World as an Impression: The Landscapes of Emilio Giuseppe Dossena" (2020), "Federico Tosti, Poeta Antiregime" (2021), and "La Danza del Colore" (2023). Dossena is the editor of A Feast of Narrative anthology series and co-editor of Rediscovered Operas Series books on librettos.

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