Written by Michael Fones
Thursday, 17 January 2008 13:20
Here's a little snippet from my friend Pat Armstrong about the Mona Lisa from an article by David Rising, Associated Press
A researcher has uncovered evidence that apparently confirms the identity
of the woman behind the Mona Lisa's iconic smile, Germany's University of
She is Lisa del Giocondo, wife of Florentine businessman Francesco del
Giocondo, according to notes written in the margins of a book by a friend
of Leonardo da Vinci as the artist worked on the masterpiece, the school
said in a statement Monday.
The discovery by a Heidelberg University library manuscript expert appears
to confirm what has long been suspected. It is also an answer that has
been in plain view for centuries: the Mona Lisa is known as La Gioconda in
Del Giocondo was first named as the likeness in the painting by Italian
writer Giorgio Vasari in 1550, who also dated the work at between 1503 and
1506, the university said. But because Vasari relied on anecdotal evidence, there were always doubts
about the identification, and Leonardo is not known to have made any notes
about the model's identity himself.
Compounding the mystery, vague references in 1517, 1525 and 1540 point to
other identifications. "One possibility discussed is the presentation of a fictitious likeness of
a woman; Leonardo's female ideal," the school said. But the find by Heidelberg library expert Armin Schlechter settles the
matter, according to the university.
In a copy of the works of Roman philosopher Cicero, a Florentine official
and friend of Leonardo's wrote in the margins that da Vinci was working on
a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. The friend, Agostino Vespucci, dated his
notes October 1503, also helping to pin down the exact time Leonardo was
working on the painting.
"All doubts as to the identity of the Mona Lisa are eliminated (by) one
source," the university said.
The discovery was actually made in 2005, but was not widely known until a
German radio station last week aired it in a report.
Hat tip: Patricia Armstrong, aka, "Patsie Lisa" or "La U-gotta-be-Giocanda"