Scientists move closer to connecting Mona Lisa with Lisa Gherardini

Italian scientists are getting closer to solving the mystery of who was the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, Mona Lisa.


Last week Florentine officials announced that they have opened the tomb containing the family of Lisa Gherardini, the second wife of a Florentine silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo. It is believed that she was the person depicted in the painting, which was done sometime between 1503 and 1506.


On Friday, August 6th, the remains of three people were removed from the family crypt at Chapel of the Holy Martyrs – they are believed to belong to Gherardini’s husband Franceso Del Giocondo and their son Piero and her stepson Bartolomeo.

mona lisa skullThe scientists hope that their DNA will match one of three 16th-century skeletons discovered last year at Convent of Saint Ursula in Florence. Records indicated that Lisa Gherardini, who died in 1542, was buried there.


Silvano Vinceti, head of the National Committee for the valuation of historic, cultural and environmental assets, explained “if the timeframe coincides with the bodies that we find here, we will be able to do the DNA comparison and the magic of science and technology, thanks to the connection between mother and children, which will allow us to know whether we have found Mona Lisa.”

The scientists also hope to do a computerized facial reconstruction of Gherardini, which would allow them to compare it with the Da Vinci’s painting.

The opening of the tomb made international headlines last week. Here are how several television news channels covered the event:

Here is also the raw footage from last week’s excavation: