HER SMILE is infamous – and her identity – a mystery.
Now scientists are recovering skeletal remains from a Renaissance-era tomb that may bring them one step closer to finding out if the subject of the Mona Lisa is indeed Lisa Gherardini, the wife of silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo.
Historians say Gherardini spent her last years at the Saint Orsola convent, where the hunt for her bones began last year.
Lead researcher Silvano Vinceti will compare the remains to those of three women found at the convent.
''A long research on family tombs showed that by tradition families were all buried together, father, mother, children. Therefore, the burial of Lisa Gherardini in the Sant'Orsola convent is an anomaly and we cannot discard the hypothesis that she was transferred (in the Iucundi family tomb, with the rest of her family) in the mid 1600s (when there were major restoration works in the convent.) So, before checking possible DNA matches between the mortal remains found in the convent and the living descendants, we will compare them with the remains that we found here," says Vinceti.
Once a DNA match is made, Vinceti says an image of Gherardini's face can be generated from the Saint Orsola skull and then compared with the painting.
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