“Mona Lisa model” to be exhumed

Scientists are opening the grave of a nun to see if she was the model for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

The 16th century tomb of Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo is being explored in the hopes of finding her skull. With modern facial reconstruction techniques, it’s possible to tell what she looked like, and this will confirm or deny a popular theory that she was the model for the famous painting.

Archaeologists are using subsurface imaging to probe the area under a crypt and staircase they’ve uncovered inside an old convent where the women is presumed to have been buried. They believe that several tombs lie at the bottom of the stairs.

Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo was the wife of a wealthy merchant and when her husband died she became a nun at the convent of San Orsula in Florence, where she died in 1542. It was common in those days for women to join a convent when they were widowed. One has to wonder what Sister Del Giocondo thought of being the subject of the most talked-about portrait in history.

The Mona Lisa has been argued about for generations. Some researchers say the model was Da Vinci’s gay lover, while others say it’s Da Vinci himself in drag.

The lower tombs will be opened in the next few days. Stayed tuned to see if the team finds Mona Lisa’s celebrated head among the remains.

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

Mona Lisa was a man, says expert

An Italian researcher, Silvano Vinceti, has an opinion about Mona Lisa: she was a he. Vinceti announced today that a male apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci was the real model for the famous painting. Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known as Salai, studied under Leonardo and he was a longtime companion of his. Vinceti speculates that Caprotti may have also been a lover of Leonardo’s. After all, artists’ lovers are often times their muses.

In Vinceti’s release of this news, he makes a point to say that the portrait represents a synthesis of Leonardo’s scientific, artistic, and philosophical beliefs. Leonardo worked on this portrait for several years, at various intervals. Because of this, he was subjected to different influences and inspiration sources. The canvas is also full of hidden symbolic messages and meanings. Caprotti worked with Leonardo for more than two decades beginning in 1490. Although their relationship seems to be definitively ambiguous, many art historians agree with Vinceti and believe that Caprotti was Leonardo’s lover.

And hey, I just want to point out, the letters for the name ‘Lisa’ are found in the name ‘Salai’. Read more on this discovery at ABC. [Thanks, ABC]