Next Step in Mona Lisa Quest: DNA Testing
Reconstruction of Lisa Gheradini's face may give clues about famed painting
By Liam Carnahan, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2012 8:18 AM CST
Do these bones belong to the famous Mona Lisa?   (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)

(Newser) – Art history fans have a good reason to crack a smile: We're getting closer to determining whether Lisa Gherardini did indeed serve as the model for Leonardo da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa, reports CNN. Researchers in Italy have been sorting through a set of exhumed bones—currently wrapped in tinfoil and stored in Tupperware—and will next compare the DNA of the remains to that from the bones of two of Gherardini's known relatives.

"Once we identify the remains we can reconstruct the face, with a margin of error of 2% to 8%," says lead researcher Silvano Vinceti. "By doing this, we will finally be able to answer the question the art historians can't: Who was the model for Leonardo?" But even if Gherardini was the model, only some of her features may have made it into the final painting. Vinceti believes da Vinci originally painted a "dark and depressed" person; the enigmatic smirk was probably added later on, he speculates.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
iq145
Dec 12, 2012 5:37 PM CST
Wow. This is really important. Could even save mankind...
FocalPoint
Dec 12, 2012 2:39 PM CST
Identifying the woman who posed for the painting isn't important. If anything, it takes away from the mystery of who she was. Say we do find out... now she'll be Lisa Gherardini, the duchess, or the beggar, or the housemaid?
BrushMan
Dec 12, 2012 10:06 AM CST
It doesn't appear that she was in a casket. How rude!