Researchers have begun the task of attempting to identify the woman who posed for Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" by exhuming remains that they believe to be hers.
Researchers believe that they have discovered the remains of Lisa Gherardini, who is believed to have modeled for Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. The remains were found in what was once a convent in Florence, and now one television producer turned art historian hopes to unveil the secret behind the painting.
"Historical records seem to indicate that this is the place where Lisa Gherardini, otherwise known as "Mona Lisa," was buried. Beyond that, it's all a mystery," Silvano Vinceti said in an interview with CNN.
Determined to discover the facts, Vinceti has exhumed the remains. He plans on sending them to varying universities across Italy, where researchers will compare the DNA of the bones to the remains of two other people who have been identified as relatives of Gherardini.
"Once we identify the remains we can reconstruct the face, with a margin of error of two to eight percent," Vinceti said. "By doing this we will finally be able to answer the question the art historians can't: who was the model for Leonardo?"
But other theories exist as to whom Da Vinci envisioned when painting the Mona Lisa. According to Vinceti, one thing is for certain and that is Mona Lisa's smile. The producer told CNN that her smile is not the original one that was painted and may instead belong to Gian Giacomo Caprotti, the artist's lover, who appears in many other Da Vinci paintings.
Some have also argued that "Mona Lisa" is a self-inflection of Da Vinci, but we may never know, says Vinceti.
"This is the magic of a great genius who eludes classification, around whom remains a fog of mystery," Vinceti said. "I am under no illusion that we will be able to solve the mystery of the 'Mona Lisa.'"