What's in a smile? Well, if it belongs to arguably one of the most famous smiling figures that answer is mystery, or at least it was until now. The inspiration for the Mona Lisa has been up for debate, puzzling art historians and researchers for centuries; however, with the advancements of DNA testing this may be about to change.
Leonardo Da Vinci, the creator of the masterpiece, had his works commissioned by royalty, but he also lived some of his years without steady work. It is believed that during one of these periods he sought freelance work through merchants and those with enough financial means to acquire such luxuries.
Lisa del Giocondo, wife of the established silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo during the early 1500's, has been named as the most likely choice. While the reason this painting remained in Leonardo's possession is uncertain, it may be due to the artist feeling that his masterpiece was not complete enough to expect payment, or other unforeseen complications.
On August 9, in Florence, Italy, researchers opened the family tomb of Franesco del Giocondo where a small, round hole was cut into the church floor. This hole was only big enough to allow one person to squeeze through at a time.
Silvano Vinceti, a representative from the National Committee for the Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage, is the person behind the research. Using DNA testing, Mr. Vincenti aims to test the bones of Lisa del Giocondo with those of children located within the tomb in order to determine whether the samples are from the same genetic line. Why would Lisa del Giocondo not be buried in the same tomb with her children? Lisa's final years were spent at the Saint Orsola convent where she was buried.
"For centuries, historians the world over have been coming up with various theories about who this enigmatic, mysterious woman could have been," Silvano Vicenti said before adding, "When we find a match between mother and child then we will have found the Mona Lisa."
Art enthusiasts and historians alike may finally have a smile as the answer to the mystery of the mysterious smile is found.[ Reuters ]