Scientists look for Mona Lisa model remains in Italy

Italian scientists on Wednesday started digging for the remains of 16th-century woman believed to be the model for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in a bid to unwrap one of the greatest mysteries of the art world, local media said.

For centuries, art historians have been speculating about the identity of the Mona Lisa. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a rich Florentine silk merchant has long been thought to be a model who posed for da Vinci’s great painting that hangs in the Louvre in Paris, although some experts say the final portrait may be a composite of other faces.

A team of eight experts with a special geo-radar device descended to the halls of a ramshackle medieval convent in the heart of Florence where they believe the body of Gherardini was buried.

DNA experts on the team will test any remains that are found and compare the results with the DNA of Gherardini’s descendants. If the identity of Gerardini remains is proved, scientists will try to create a facial reconstruction – a likeness of what the woman would have looked like to compare her to the painting.

“We want to find the skull and make a portrait of the Mona Lisa,” said Stefania Romano, a spokeswoman for the group behind the excavation.

Some art historians believe that the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s great portrait is a male – Gian Giacomo Caprotti, apprentice to and alleged lover of the maestro.

ROME, May 11 (RIA Novosti) 

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