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Who's that girl with da Vinci? Learning more about Mona Lisa
An identity revealed with evidence
We've all at least seen pictures of the Mona Lisa, on of Leonardi da Vinci's most famous paintings, though small and somewhat dull in color. It wasn't until I heard this questions that I wondered who the woman in the painting really is.
Most art aficionados agree that the woman is is Lisa Gherardini, wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo... which may explain the painting's other title "La Gioconda." Born in 1479, Gherardini was raised in Tuscany and married 1495.
In 2004, Italian scholar Giuseppe Pallanti finished writing his book "Monna Lisa, Mulier Ingenua" ("Mona Lisa: Real Woman"), which agreed Gherardini is the painting's figure. Pallanti said da Vinci's father was a friend of del Giacondo, and that the painting possibly could have been a commissioned work when she was 24. He also found that Gherardini had five children and outlived her husband, dying July 15, 1592 at the age of 63. Italian geneologist Domenico Savini found that princesses Natalia and Irina Strozzi were Gherardini's descendants.
Bruno Mottin suggested in 2006 that the painting was created around 1503, possibly in commemoration of her second son's birth after the death of a daughter. The veil the painting's figure wore may have been a mourning veil, a sign of virtue.
While the above theory is widely believed, others think the Mona Lisa figure looks like those of other paintings as well.
It is said that da Vinci mentioned a painting "of a certain Florentine lady done from life at the request of the magnificent Giuliano de' Medici." This comment may refer to other paintings da Vinci made, though. Also, another statement suggested that the Mona Lisa was of Gherardini's husband, which may explain why some think the Mona Lisa is of a man!
Dr. Lillian Schwartz of Bell Labs thinks the Mona Lisa is a self-portrait, having performed a digital analysis of portraits of the faces of da Vinci and Gherardini; their features align perfectly! Some criticize this belief, saying the resemblance is due mainly to the fact that the pictures were done by the same person and the same style, or that she picture of da Vinci may not be a self-portrait after all.
In his biography of Leonardo, Serge Bramly suggested the Mona Lisa may be of da Vinci's mother Caterina, which would explain the similarities found by Schwartz and why da Vinci always carried the Mona Lisa around.
Dr. Henry Pulitzer, an art expert, thinks the painting may be of duchess Constanza d'Avalos, who was nicknamed "La Gioconda."
Finally, Maike Vogt-Lüerssen brought up the possibility that the portrait may be of Isabella of Aragon, the Duchess of Milan. Da Vinci painted for the duke of Milan for 11 years. Also, the pattern on the Mona Lisa's dress could mean she was a member of the hosue of Storza.
More about Mona Lisa
- Mona Lisa (painting by Leonardo da Vinci) -- Encyclopedia Britannica
Oil painting on a poplar wood panel by the Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer Leonardo da Vinci, probably the world’s most famous painting. It was painted sometime between 1503...
- Mona Lisa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Mona Lisa Mania
The Mona Lisa is widely recognized as the most famous painting in the history of art. At Mona Lisa Mania you will find the history of the painting along with trivia, images, and activities. In 2003, the 500th anniversary of the painting, she will occ
- Mona: Exploratorium Exhibit
Optical illusion featuring the Mona Lisa
- 25 Secrets of Mona Lisa Revealed | LiveScience
- The Mona Lisa Foundation
This website is dedicated to the work of The Mona Lisa Foundation, presenting Leonardo da Vinci’s earlier version of his most celebrated painting, the ‘Mona Lisa’.