Bones of the Mona Lisa model, the Italian woman who posed for Leonardo da Vinci's historic masterpiece, may have been found stacked in a tomb under the altar of an old convent in Florence, Italy.
Italian noblewoman Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, wife of a Florentine silk merchant, was believed to be the model for da Vinci's painting. She died in 1542 at age 63, a widow who lived with her daughter, Marietta, a nun, according to London's Daily Mail
Art detective Silvano Vinceti led a squad of archaeologists in exhuming several skeletons stacked under the chapel. Carbon dating of one of the fragments indicated the remains were compatible with the period.
Vinceti, head of Italy's National Committee for the Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage, said he believed the remains 'very likely' belonged to Gherardini. He told Reuters
that additional documentation about her burial site along with the testing made him more confident.
Other experts, like University of Bologna anthropology professor Giorgio Gruppioni, weren't convinced. Gruppioni said the probability that the group actually found the Mona Lisa model was "certainly not high."
"What we hope (are) sophisticated techniques will eventually allow us to extract and analyze and compare the DNA to be able to ascertain that genetically these are the remains of Lisa Gherardini," Gruppioni told reporters.
The Mona Lisa, known in Italy as the Gioconda, continues to wow audiences at Paris's Louvre museum. It is probably the world's most famous painting.
magazine's Kristina Killgrove wondered, though, was the search for Gherardini's bones worth the time and effort.
"Every summer since 2011, a report has come out that a team of Italian archaeologists is closer to finding the tomb and the bones of Lisa Gherardini …," said Killgrove. "And every summer, the archaeologists come up empty handed, with a few scattered bones and radically revised plans for how they will salvage their quest to prove Gherardini was the Mona Lisa."
"But does it really matter if Gherardini is positively identified? Is it worth expending significant time and money on this attempt," asked Killgrove.
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