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Modern Mysteries

'Mona Lisa' skeleton due for DNA testing

By T.K. Randall
August 10, 2013 · Comment icon 14 comments



Image Credit: Leonardo da Vinci
Researchers are continuing their efforts to find the identity of the women in Da Vinci's famous painting.
Her smile is well known all over the world but her identity has remained something of a mystery. For years researchers have been attempting to find the answer through a combination of historical research, archaeological excavations and a plethora of scientific testing procedures. The latest candidate lies in a Florentine family tomb within a crypt at the Basilica della Santissima Annuziata.

"Right now we are carrying out carbon-14 tests on three of the eight skeletons found in St. Ursula, which could be the age Lisa Gherardini was when she died," said Silvano Vinceti, head of Italy's national committee for cultural heritage. "The carbon-14 test will tell us which of the three dates back to the 1500s. Only then will we know which skeleton to do the final DNA test on."[!gad]Her smile is well known all over the world but her identity has remained something of a mystery. For years researchers have been attempting to find the answer through a combination of historical research, archaeological excavations and a plethora of scientific testing procedures. The latest candidate lies in a Florentine family tomb within a crypt at the Basilica della Santissima Annuziata.

"Right now we are carrying out carbon-14 tests on three of the eight skeletons found in St. Ursula, which could be the age Lisa Gherardini was when she died," said Silvano Vinceti, head of Italy's national committee for cultural heritage. "The carbon-14 test will tell us which of the three dates back to the 1500s. Only then will we know which skeleton to do the final DNA test on."
Researchers say they're opening up a Florentine family tomb for the first time in centuries as part of their long-running effort to identify the bones of a woman who is thought to be the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa portrait.


Source: NBC News | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Parsec 10 years ago
Researchers say they're opening up a Florentine family tomb for the first time in centuries as part of their long-running effort to identify the bones of a woman who is thought to be the model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa portrait. http://www.nbcnews.c...ting-6C10874613 And who cares? I mean (with all due respect), who cares about a woman who maybe posed as a model for a painting? What's important is Leonardo's art, not the model. We don't even know how precise he was in portraying her. Maybe the famous "smile" they talk in the article has been added by Leonardo. So, rather than "bad teet... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 10 years ago
Frankly, the satisfaction of curiosity (within limits) should be the guiding factor of science not "this is a waste of money". Ironically, I'm the first to shout "this is a waste of money" about a tonne of things (including frivolous rubbish like this) but that doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. Maybe I've changed, maybe spending time with students who are allowed to say "I want to build a guinea pig hotel" and then being told "off you go then" has changed my view on what is or is not a valued use of one's time and energy.
Comment icon #7 Posted by patagonianhorsesnake 10 years ago
personally, i'm all for "frivolous" research like this. i'm endlessly curious about people in the past as individuals, and not just the important people. if this leads to learning more about this woman, who she was, and what her life was like, then it's a good thing, even if it's not earth shattering. and i could hardly give two figs about taxpayers and their money. figs!
Comment icon #8 Posted by spud the mackem 10 years ago
If/When they do a D.N.A. test what are they gonna compare it to.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aggie 10 years ago
If/When they do a D.N.A. test what are they gonna compare it to. They will try to recreate the face from her bones and compare the features the the Mona Lisa to see if they could have been the same person. I love ALL scientific adventures, but this one, to me, seems like such a waste of money.
Comment icon #10 Posted by spud the mackem 10 years ago
They will try to recreate the face from her bones and compare the features the the Mona Lisa to see if they could have been the same person. I love ALL scientific adventures, but this one, to me, seems like such a waste of money. Yep a total waste of resources,it reminds me of Burke and Hare, who used to go around digging up coffins and selling the contents to medical research.And they came to a gruesome end.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Aggie 10 years ago
Yep a total waste of resources,it reminds me of Burke and Hare, who used to go around digging up coffins and selling the contents to medical research.And they came to a gruesome end. Weren't Burke and Hare killers? Didn't they commit the murders?
Comment icon #12 Posted by coolguy 10 years ago
Very cool I hope the find something it's not my tax money.anyways like the other person said Mona Lisa is divinnci
Comment icon #13 Posted by brlesq1 10 years ago
I can understand the curiosity, but does it really matter? To me, what matters is the art, and nothing else. Oh, well. As long as private monies are being used to fund this little venture, I won't object.
Comment icon #14 Posted by MamaTweedy 10 years ago
Kind of curious myself


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