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17.9.04

Pigeon-Holing La Gioconda

Salvador Dalí, Self-Portrait as Mona Lisa, 1954An Agence France-Press dispatch (La Joconde identifiée?, September 13) in Le Nouvel Observateur reports on a new theory on whose portrait Leonardo's Mona Lisa may be (my translation):

Giuseppe Pallanti, a professor in Florence, in his book Monna Lisa, mulier ingenua (Polistampa, which appeared this summer), claims to have identified the woman painted by Leonardo da Vinci in his famous painting and tells her story. According to the author, she was Lisa Gherardini, born in Florence in May 1479, wife of Francesco del Giocondo and Leonardo's model. "Lisa Gherardini divided her time between Florence and Chianti (Tuscany). Being myself originally from that area, I decided to tell her story," he explains. [...]

This research confirms the writings of Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574), painter and writer of the 16th century and Leonardo's first biographer. The identity of the Mona Lisa has always sparked debate. According to another hypothesis [from the decidedly unscholarly book The Da Vinci Code], Mona Lisa never existed and is instead an ambiguous self-portrait of Leonardo.
My impression is that the book has some new research on the life of Lisa Gherardini, but nothing new to support the theory that she was La Joconde. A few newspapers reported this in English. The coverage in the Italian press goes into more detail.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Did you ever read this article:
Greenstein, J. (2004) Leonardo, Mona Lisa and La Gioconda, Reviewing the Evidence, Artibus et Historiae, Vol. 25, No. 50. pp. 17-38
It kind of disagrees with Vasari about La Gioconda and the sitter's identity.