ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Who's that girl with da Vinci? Learning more about Mona Lisa

Updated on July 21, 2013

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.

Other suggestions

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.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      V. Gruenlich 

      7 years ago


      The possibility that the portrait might be of Isabella of Aragon wasn't brought up by Maike Vogt-Luerssen (2003), but by Robert Payne (see: R. Payne, 'Leonardo', London 1979).

      Vogt-Luerssen retells Payne's thesis.

    • profile image

      jomar balasa 

      10 years ago

      sino man ang babaing yan ... parang bayot...maganda pero ang laki ng ka.............ta..........w....ann ... heheheheheh

    • meow48 profile image


      10 years ago from usa

      interesting info. helped me to get my mind off of things. thankyou for your comments on my last post, take care, meow48

    • nikki1 profile image


      11 years ago

      great hub

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love those alternative theories, like the one that Mona Lisa is really da Vinci. It's like wondering who Shakespeare really was and some saying that Queen Elizabeth was really Shakespeare. As if the great art was not interesting enough!

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      who is mona lisa???.....tell it and the mona lisa a hero???....


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)