The art world—not to mention the blogosphere—is abuzz with news that Mona Lisa was Lisa del Giocondo, at least according to experts at the Heidelberg University library.
The New York Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg all have the details. Manuscript expert Armin Schlechter discovered notes from October 1503 in the margin of a book and concluded that Leonardo’s mysterious model was the former Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. A statement from the library yesterday is pretty definitive:
“All doubts about the identity of the Mona Lisa have been
eliminated by a discovery by Dr. Armin Schlechter.”
While the discovery’s conclusiveness is newsworthy, it’s no surprise. Lisa Gherardini has long been linked to the masterpiece—since at least 1550, less than 50 years after Leonardo completed the painting in Florence.
And we can only imagine that the Louvre’s reaction was, “Well, duh!” The Paris museum, where the painting resides, has long suspected that Lisa Gherardini was the portrait’s famous face. In fact, while acknowledging some ambiguity over the subject, the Louvre even refers to her by name in its title: Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo.
Like we said a few months ago, Mona Lisa keeps making news. Still no word on the smile, though, but today’s New York Times post referred to an article in 2000 with a revealing conclusion. It’s up to you to decide.