Archaeologists digging for the remains of the real-life Mona Lisa have found a female skeleton, but they say it doesn’t belong to the mysterious Florentine noblewoman, according to news reports.
The team is excavating underneath a former convent in central Florence, searching for the body of Lisa Gherardini, the woman thought to be the model for Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting finished around 1506. The skeleton that the archaeologists pulled out this week is the fourth they’ve found at the site. Silvano Vinceti, the researcher leading the search, said he believes the remains belong to a rich woman who died decades after Lisa Gherardini.
There’s some skepticism expressed in the article regarding whether finding the skeleton would even be possible to identify as such and that any kind of facial reconstruction — which is the first thing I thought of — can be ‘unreliable’. Both are true, but the latter is often overblown, I think; mainly the point of reconstruction is not an exact reproduction of a person’s likeness, but something close enough that the person would be recognizable to people who knew her. Since we’re all familiar with the painting, I’d like to see a facial reconstruction done, but put in a ‘lineup’ with others to see if a random selection of people would “recognize” her. That would make it more plausible to me.