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August 13 2013

Decoding Mona Lisa: Have archaeologists found the face behind the smile?


The most mysterious smile in art history has spawned endless speculation. Who was the model? Why is she smiling? What does the background mean? Whole books have been devoted to musing about hidden messages in the painting, including asking whether the model was actually a man, or had bad teeth, or maybe was Leonardo da Vinci himself.

While speculation continues, most art historians have now coalesced around the idea that the model was a young woman named Lisa del Giocondo, née Lisa Gherardini. "Mona" is a contraction from "madonna," which in Italian means "my lady.".

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