The Woman Who Inspired Mona Lisa

Arguably the most famous painting in the world, Mona Lisa is an iconic oil painting created by acclaimed artist Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century. For centuries, the piece has been the subject of much fascination, scrutiny, and admiration.

One of the longest-running questions pertained to the identity of the woman depicted in the painting. Although many believed it to be the wife of an Italian businessman, Francesco del Giocondo, the artist left no record to confirm that, and there were several other obscure references that implied other possibilities.

But in 2005, the mystery was finally laid to rest. At the University of Heidelberg in Germany, a library researcher named Armin Schlechter discovered a note made in the margin of the works of Roman philosopher Cicero. In the note, a friend of da Vinci’s, Agostino Vespucci, confirmed the sitter’s identity to be Lisa del Giocondo. Shortly after the birth of their second son, her husband had commissioned the painting to display in their new home. The Italian title loosely translates to “Lady Lisa”.

Today, the original painting is displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, and is widely renowned as a timeless symbol of enigmatic femininity.

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