Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Gherardini DNA Sample Could Identify “Mona Lisa”

Friday, August 09, 2013

(Leonardo da Vinci)FLORENCE, ITALY—Researchers are excavating the remains of Lisa Gherardini’s husband and sons as the next step in the quest to identify the skeletal remains of Leonardo de Vinci’s model for the Mona Lisa. DNA samples taken from the family's bones will be compared to samples from skeletal remains excavated last year at the convent where Gherardini became a nun after her husband’s death and was eventually buried. But first, the skeletons uncovered at the convent will be examined to determine how old the women were when they died and narrow the field of eight possible Mona Lisa candidates. If Lisa Gherardini’s remains are identified, scientists plan to virtually reconstruct her face from her skull.