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Mona Lisa Mystery Solved!
Posted by TK on 2/23/2008 12:39:02 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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German academics at the Heidelberg University library believe that they have finally confirmed the identity of the "Mona Lisa", the subject in Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait painting. Art historians have often wondered whether the smiling woman may have been Da Vinci's lover, his mother or even the artist himself.

One of the most popular theories has been that the Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant, Francesco del Giocondo. Experts recently discovered dated notes scribbled in the margins of a book, penned in October 1503 by Florentine city official Agostino Vespucci, an acquaintance of Da Vinci's. The notes confirm once and for all that Lisa del Giocondo was indeed the model for one of the most famous portraits in the world.

Prior to the discovery, only limited evidence from sixteenth-century documents had been available, which left lots of room for interpretation. The comments in the book state that Da Vinci was working on three paintings at the time, one of them a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. Art experts, who have already dated the painting to this time period, say the Heidelberg discovery is a breakthrough and the earliest mention linking the merchant's wife to the portrait.

The painting, which hangs in the Louvre in Paris, is also known as "La Gioconda" (which translates to the happy or joyful woman in Italian), a title which also suggests the woman's married name.

Mona Lisa
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