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Oddly Enough

Who was the woman behind the Mona Lisa?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 01:15

April 30 - Scientists working in an ancient tomb in Florence have removed remains belonging to the Giocondo family in order to carry out DNA tests in the quest to finally identify the ''Mona Lisa.'' Sharon Reich reports.

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Her smile is infamous -- and her identity -- a mystery. Now scientists are recovering skeletal remains from a Renaissance-era tomb that may bring them one step closer to finding out if the subject of the "Mona Lisa" is indeed Lisa Gherardini, the wife of silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. Historians say Gherardini spent her last years at the Saint Orsola convent, where the hunt for her bones began last year. Lead researcher Silvano Vinceti will compare the remains to those of three women found at the convent. SOUNDBITE: Head of Mona Lisa's search committee, Silvano Vinceti, saying (Italian): ''A long research on family tombs showed that by tradition families were all buried together, father, mother, children. Therefore, the burial of Lisa Gherardini in the Sant'Orsola convent is an anomaly and we cannot discard the hypothesis that she was transferred (in the Iucundi family tomb, with the rest of her family) in the mid 1600s (when there were major restoration works in the convent.) So, before checking possible DNA matches between the mortal remains found in the convent and the living descendants, we will compare them with the remains that we found here." Once a DNA match is made, Vinceti says an image of Gherardini's face can be generated from the Saint Orsola skull and then compared with the painting.

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Who was the woman behind the Mona Lisa?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 01:15