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Carbon-14 tests could confirm Mona Lisa model

Results expected within days, but more DNA tests to follow

12 December, 19:26
Carbon-14 tests could confirm Mona Lisa model (ANSA) - Florence, December 12 - Carbon-14 results on the remains of a woman thought to have sat for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting are due within days, officials said Thursday.

The time-consuming tests are being carried out to find out whether the bones exhumed in an archeological dig in a central Florence convent in 2012 date back to the same period in history as that of the beguiling model who sat for the famous portrait, which is now housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Art historical scholars now believe that model was Lisa Gherardini, wife to the merchant Francesco Del Giocondo, who died in the Florence convent on July 15, 1542.

"In just a few days we will know whether the remains we found date back to the period in which Lisa was buried", Silvano Vinceti, who is in charge of the National Committee for the valuation of historic, cultural and environmental assets, told reporters.

"If the tests come back positive we move on to phase 2, which is comparing the DNA from the remains to that of Lisa Gherardini's children, whom we know are buried are in a family tomb in Santissima Annunziata basilica", Vinceti added.

Those DNA tests will also take months. If there is a match, 'La Gioconda', as Italians call the woman with the enigmatic half-smile, will be positively identified for posterity, solving a centuries-old mystery of the art-historical world.