Who is Mona Lisa?

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymathic scholar of the High Renaissance period who dabbled in several fields like painting, engineering, science, and architecture. One of his most popular art pieces, The Mona Lisa, has been a mystery for quite some time.

The identity of the Monal Lisa has been confirmed in 2005. A researcher at the Heidelberg University found a note in the margin of a book that was handwritten by Da Vinci’s contemporaries in 1503. It read, “Brother Leonard is working on a portrait of Lisa of Giocondo.”

The Identity of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is arguably one of the most famous paintings in the whole world. For centuries people have questioned the identity of the woman in the painting. According to the Guinness World Records, his 16th-century painting is the most valuable painting ever insured. Tens and thousands of visitors flock to the Louvre in Paris just to see it.

It wasn’t until 2005 that her true identity was revealed to the world. A German scholar who worked at the University of Heidelberg made the discovery in 2005.

All doubts about the identity of the ‘Mona Lisa’ have been eliminated by a discovery by Dr. Armin Schlechter, a historian working at the university library. He initially found proof for the woman’s identity, when he was putting together old manuscripts for an exhibition in early 2005 and we’re still surprised that no one realized the importance of his discovery then, but we’re happy to see the reaction today.

Dr. Sabine Haeussermann, Spokesperson of the University of Heidelberg

The historian found Agostino Vespucci’s note from October 1503 in a book that currently belongs to the Heidelberg University library. In the note, Mona Lisa was identified as Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant. (Source: ABC News)

Who is Lisa del Giocondo?

Lisa del Giocondo was married to a successful silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo. Their family resided in Florence and Tuscany. It is believed that the painting was a commissioned piece for their new home and as a celebration for the birth of their first child.

Before the discovery, only scant evidence existed who the woman with the mysterious smile might be, but now we know for sure. Lisa del Giocondo was first linked to Leonardo da Vinci’s work in 1550 by Italian writer Giorgio Vasari, though there had been doubts about his reliability. The margin note in our incunabula from 1503 makes a direct reference and there’s no doubt it’s authentic. There will never be 100 percent certainty, but based on what we know today, even renowned Leonardo da Vinci specialists agree that the painting is a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo. Despite all efforts to improve the digitalization of historic documents, specialists will always need to maintain in close touch with the real thing — the original incunabula or books — or else a lot of historic facts may remain undetected.

Dr. Armin Schlechter, Historian at the University of Heidelberg

(Source: ABC News)

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