Mona Lisa's DNA: Identity

Link- One of the first posts I did about this in 2006.
(Lisa Mona was the title for one of the first versions of my book

Hey Mona -Can I see some identification please?
*Hands out a dozen paintings and a stack of notebooks and coincidences.*
"Figure it out!"

This is an update to the whole "Who was Mona Lisa, lets dig up bones and dna test them and reconstruct them" etc etc. story. That story has been picked up and followed by all the top news outlets around the world for years. You can read about it on Leonardo's Wikipedia page and all over the internet.

Previous blog posts about this: 

Scientists were going to did up Leonardo's bones to reconstruct his skull and compare it to the Mona Lisa.
Mona Lisa and Leonardo's face being superimposed. 
 This is interesting because the same group of scientists are now going to try and DNA test the supposed bones of the supposed sitter of the Mona Lisa. This would be a way to test if their faces are the same.

The problem with this is that by verifying that they found the real life Lisa G's remains (by testing it with her known relatives) is that it does not mean that she is who is depicted in the Mona Lisa. They could re-construct her face to rule her out (if it was drastically different) but to 'verify' that it's her in the painting is very problematic.

It's been considered for quite a while that Leonardo's own self portrait aligns with the face of the woman in the Mona Lisa. Even if it were unintentional it would show that a face of someone who is not the sitter (and a totally different sex) could be made to "align." If it was intentional then it presents a whole new set of problems such as why would he design his own face to align with the face of a real life Lisa G? Those are some of the questions that finding and reconstructing Lisa G's face would help to solve.

Through the research for my book, which is partly about Leonardo's face and the Mona Lisa, I have pretty much taken the real life Lisa G out of the running for being the person portrayed in the painting: Mona Lisa. There are many reasons and they are partly explored on my web site on their respective sections and will be elaborated on in my book.

I do think that it is possible and probable that Leonardo painted a portrait of the real Lisa Gheradini. The problem is that there is not just a single "Mona Lisa' But many - potentially dozens that were created during and immediately after the one in the Louvre. The Prado Mona - and Isleworth being prime examples. It could also be argued that while all of these "Monas" are in the same pose and being displayed the same - they are not really the same person being portrayed.




Isleworth Mona Lisa - painted before the Louvre Version. 

Very early sketch - probably by Leonardo himself. 


The Prado version - painted by Salai while Leonardo was painting the Louvre Version. 


So while it's possible that Leonardo did paint a portrait of "Lisa Gheradini" - which one is it? The Louvre version is the least likely of all. If Leonardo worked on it and continually painted it over and over for almost 20 years it would eventually look almost nothing like the original layers and 'model' if she was. 

Perhaps the most curious evidence that Lisa Gheradini is not the sitter but not even a contender comes from a portrait painted previously. 

Portrait of Salai - c1495 -1500 - by unknown painter (I think by Salai and Leo helping) 


The portrait of Salai is dated before any image of the Mona Lisa c. 1495-1500. For it to align and combine with the face of the Louvre Mona Lisa (and any other version) THEY would have had to been originally based off of HIM rather than the other way around. 

Meaning that the painting that became known LATER as the "Mona Lisa" was based off of the portrait of Salai. Lisa G was only brought into this because of her name: "Maddame Lisa Giacondo" being shortened to "Mona Lisa" was intentional since:

Mona Lisa = Mon Salai. An anagram for "My Salai" or "M on Salai" (Mona on Salai) which sounds strange and coincidental until you put all of these pieces together - then they fit almost flawlessly. 

Salai's name is an anagram for the title of the painting that he inspired and goes ON. There are many layers to this story and I've addressed most of them in previous posts and on my site. 


Mona Lisa and Salai's face being superimposed. 














DNA tests on bones found in Florence church may help ID 'Mona Lisa' model

"Researchers trying to identify the model for Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" have started DNA tests on a skeleton found in a Florence church in a bid to link the remains with recently discovered bones believed to be those of the Renaissance icon's descendants.
The identity of the woman painted by Leonardo in 1504 has long been suspected to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a rich silk merchant who died around 1542.
Last year, Silvano Vinceti, the head of Italy's National Committee for the valuation of historic, cultural and environmental assets, uncovered several skeletons in the basement of the Sant’Orsola convent in Florence, one of which is believed to be the model's. "

Are we closer to finding the real Mona Lisa? DNA testing on bones in a Florence convent could reveal Leonardo da Vinci's lost model

  • The bones are thought to belong to Italian noblewoman, Lisa Gherardini
  • Gherardini believed to have posed for the painting between 1503 and 1506
  • Notes by an official confirm da Vinci was working on her portrait at the time
  • If a DNA match is made, scientists will make a 3D reconstruction of Gherardini's face using details from the skull and painting

'Mona Lisa' skeleton and her kin's remains are due for DNA testing

Researchers say they're opening up a Florentine family tomb for the first time in centuries as part of their long-running effort to identify the bones of a woman who is thought to be the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa portrait.

etc etc etc
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