Sunday, May 22, 2011

Digging Up Mona Lisa's Smile...

...and bones.  A research group in Italy is planning on excavating the bones of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a prominent Florentine silk merchant, and thought to be the model for "Mona Lisa."
Tradition has long linked Gherardini to the painting, which is known in Italian as "La Gioconda" and in French as "La Joconde." Giorgio Vasari, a 16th-century artist and biographer of Leonardo, wrote that da Vinci painted a portrait of del Giocondo's wife.
 So, we don't even really know whether it's Mona Lisa or not.
If such bones are identified, the researchers will conduct carbon dating and extract DNA, which will be compared to that extracted from the bones of Gherardini's children, some of whom are buried in a basilica also in Florence. Finally, if skull fragments are found, depending on how well-preserved they are, the group might attempt a facial reconstruction. This step will be crucial to ascertain whether Gherardini was indeed the model for the "Mona Lisa" and thus the owner of that famous smile.
Mona doesn't really do that much for me.  I prefer "Lady with an Ermine" (Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani):

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