Mona Lisa`s remains to be exhumed
London: The centuries-old mystery about the identity of the woman in Leonardo da Vinci`s portrait Mona Lisa may soon be solved.
Art historians, led by Prof Silvano Vinceti, are planning to dig up remains of the woman, who inspired da Vinci`s masterpiece, in a bid to extract her DNA and recreate her face, reports the Daily Mail.
The site for the dig is a former convent where the coffin of noblewoman Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo is believed to have been buried.
She is thought by many to have been the woman behind the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, the 500-year-old painting that is one of the most recognisable images in the world.
Vinceti said the aim of the dig at the Saint Orsola convent in Florence is to find her bones and extract the DNA from inside them so they can rebuild her face.
“An initial survey of the building has revealed a 500-year-old crypt in the grounds below and we firmly believe it is the resting place of Lisa Gherardini, who was the inspiration for Mona Lisa,” he said.
“We will compare the DNA that we find in the bones from the former convent to those of remains in two other churches in Florence where two of her children are buried,” he added.
Lisa Gheradini, who died in 1542, was the wife of a rich silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo. In Italy the Mona Lisa is known as La Gioconda.
Historians have already discovered her death certificate, which gives the resting place as the Saint Orsola convent, but there are fears that, after 500 years the crypt may have shifted.
Digging will begin at the end of this month and the project has the backing of the council of Florence. Ground searching radar will be used to locate the crypt.
However, there are fears that the project will be unsuccessful, as locals have told the team that 30 years ago the remains of the convent were bulldozed into a rubbish dump.