Who's Behind the 'Mona Lisa' Smile
By Ben Wedeman
Few paintings have been more viewed, more analyzed, studied and interpreted, than Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," otherwise known as "La Gioconda."
Despite this, no one has come up with an explanation for that enigmatic smile, or a lot of other details in this painting that, despite all the ink and hot air expended on it, measures a mere 77 by 52 centimeters (about 30 by 21 inches).
In the frigid bowels of a derelict building in central Florence, Italy, that covers the ruins of an old Franciscan convent, a group of researchers is trying to nail down some of the elusive details of the woman featured in the iconic painting. It is here that old city records say the woman who posed for the painting, Lisa Gherardini, the second wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, was buried.
Silvano Vinceti is leading a team to exhume and identify Gherardini's remains.