Researchers Excavate Convent in Search of Mona Lisa’s Body

Culture/History, Travel News — By christinegarvin on May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Is this just another case of digging into something that should be left alone?

So says the descendants of Lisa Gherardini, who some believe was the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. A dilapidated convent in Florence is the scene of the discovery – or crime, depending on how you look at it.

Researchers are using radar devices to search for Gherardini’s skull, which they will use to reconstruct her face and determine if she was in fact da Vinci’s muse, according to Newser.

There is documentation that Gherardini was buried there in 1542, living there in her later years with her two daughters that were nuns.

Image: Linda Drew Photography/Flickr

Of course, a couple of months ago, Time posed the question of whether or not Mona Lisa was modeled after a man named Salai, who was da Vinci’s apprentice. A team of Italian researchers apparently believe that the two had an “ambiguous” relationship and were probably lovers. That’s not one you hear too often.

Then there’s Dr. Lillian Schwartz’s suggestion that the Mona Lisa is actually a painting of da Vinci himself, flipped around. She digitized a self-portrait of the artist and the Mona Lisa and merged the two images together facing in the same direction. Supposedly, the features aligned perfectly.

Conspiracy theories aside, it looks like the team who believe Gherardini is the one is moving full speed ahead with the excavation. Maybe the debate will finally be put to rest when they’re done.

Tags: excavating Mona Lisa, Florence, Italian researchers, Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa model

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