Researchers Find Skeleton, Close to Solving Mona Lisa Mystery

Fragments of a woman's skull were found in a wrecked building in the center of Florence

By Raluca Anghel on December 12th, 2012 13:55 GMT

The question of who is behind the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci has puzzled scientists for centuries. Italian archaeologists believe they can finally unravel the Mona Lisa mystery, as they found remains belonging to the real Mona Lisa.

The model for the painting was Lisa Gherardini, a wealthy socialite of the time. She was the second wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a silk merchant that lived in Florence, reports say.

Her painting was most likely commissioned in 1503, and was meant to embody a righteous society woman with a sense of style. According to Wikipedia, the family resting place is the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze.

Silvano Vinceti believes he found Lisa's burial place, which was hidden since the time of the Italian Renaissance, DNA India writes. He found fragments of a woman's skull, and is waiting for the results of DNA testing to confirm that they belong to Gherardini.

Vinceti used to work for Italian state TV network RAI, as a producer. He is currently heading the team of archaeologists that came across the human remains in a wrecked building in the center of Florence. The ruins of a Franciscan convent lie underneath the building.

“Once we identify the remains. [...] We can reconstruct the face, with a margin of error of 2 to 8 percent. By doing this, we will finally be able to answer the question the art historians can’t: Who was the model for Leonardo?,” Vinceti says.

There is no certainty of the fact that they will be able to match Gherardini's features with the Mona Lisa, however.

“This is the magic of a great genius who eludes classification, around whom remains a fog of mystery. I am under no illusion that we will be able to solve the mystery of the 'Mona Lisa,'” he adds.
Lisa Gherardini was identified as the model behind the Mona Lisa
   Lisa Gherardini was identified as the model behind the Mona Lisa
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