Have the Bones of the Real-Life Mona Lisa Just Been Discovered?
This week’s exciting piece of ladynews: A team of archaeologists have found what may be the remains of the model who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa!
So remember a little while ago when what could possibly be the only extant portrait of Jane Austen as a teenager emerged? Well, we’ve got some more exciting (if slightly morbid) ladynews about historically important women for you this morning: The bones of the real-life Mona Lisa may have just been unearthed.
Yes. THAT Mona Lisa.
How cool is that?!
According to the Daily Mail, a team of archaeologists have found a skeleton buried beneath the floor of a Florentine convent which they believe belonged to Lisa Gherardini, the model who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s smiley masterwork. After the death of her husband, Lisa became a nun; she died at the Convent of Saint Ursula on July 15, 1542 at the age of 63. It was at this convent that the archaeological team began digging last year, and after working through a layer of concrete originally laid down when there were plans to turn the convent into an army barracks, they found a crypt. Inside the crypt were a female skull, bone fragments, and a full skeleton—which may in fact be the remains of Lisa Gherardini.
The wife of a rich silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo (indeed, in Italy, the painting is known as “La Gioconsa”), Lisa was roughly 25 when da Vinci began painting her portrait in 1503/1504. The bones and skull will undergo DNA testing to make sure they match each other; if they do, further DNA tests will determine whether they’re a match for the remains of Lisa’s children, who were buried nearby. After the bones have been authenticated, artists will attempt to reconstruct Lisa’s face to see how it compares to the famous painting, which was finished in 1519.
Will the mystery of the Mona Lisa’s knowing smile finally get solved? Maybe—and we can’t wait to see what they find!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.