Archaeologists believe they have found the skeletal remains of the model who posed for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting.
The Mona Lisa has been one of the most renowned pieces of art for centuries. Over generations many have marveled over da Vinci's painted masterpiece, and in recent years much attention has turned to the real woman who was the inspiration for the painting.
According to Huffington Post, this past week Italian archaeologists announced they found the skeleton of Lisa Gherardini, who is the woman believed to be portrayed in the famous painting.
In 2008, experts announced they had found documentation in the margin of a book dated October 1503 that left little doubt Gherardini was the woman who posed for da Vinci. Additionally, 16th century art historian Giogrio Vasari had given indications of the identity behind the smile portrayed in the Mona Lisa. It is believed da Vinci's father was Gherardini's neighbor.
"All doubts about the identity of the 'Mona Lisa' have been eliminated," Heidelberg University said in a statement at the time.
Discovery had shared the background on Gherardini's life ,and even where she was buried, which was in 1542 within the Convent of St. Orsola in Florence, Italy. Gherardini was married to Francesco del Giocondo, a rich silk merchant.
Archaeologists excavated the site where the convent once resided and cut through a foot of concrete to find the crypt that contained the bones, reported the New York Daily News.
The bones have been dug up and are being sent to the Department for the Conservation of Cultural Property to be closely scrutinized and compared against the DNA of her two sons who were buried near the convent.
Scientists say there is a possibility the bones do not belong to Gherardini, as another woman, a noblewoman named Maria del Riccio is believed to be buried in the same location.
“According to historic records, only these two women, who were not nuns, were given special burials in the convent,” researcher Silvano Vinceti told the local daily La Nazione (courtesy Daily News).
Natalia Strozzi, a descendant of Ghirardini, was at first opposed to the digging up of the remains. Last year she told the media, ‘It was so emotional being here-I didn't think I would get so emotional. I am certain that this is the final resting place of Lisa Gherardini ... At first the thought of the dig horrified me but now I am fascinated, I find it interesting to think that this is the final resting place of one of my ancestors," reported The Florentine.
For centuries art historians and society have been intrigued by da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa'. Over the past several years the mysteries surrounding this masterpiece, including any changes the artist may have made, are slowing being unraveled a bit at a time through modern technology.
One might wonder though if the mystery surrounding the 'Mona Lisa' adds to its exquisiteness? Once all the unknowns are removed, will future generations marvel at the painting in the same fashion previous generations have over the centuries?