kleio Logo

Identifying Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

Identifying "Mona Lisa" with the Help of Contemporary Historical Sources of the 15th and 16th Centuries and the Tools of Anthropology

Transcript of a presentation held in Florence on 19th April 2012

The question "Who is Mona Lisa?" could have been answered centuries ago, if the language of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the symbolism, had not already been forgotten by the 17th century. Once more we must learn this language used by our forefathers over thousands of years of history. The dress and the Sforza symbols shown at the upper part of the neckline of "Mona Lisa" tell us that the depicted lady is in fact Isabella of Aragon (1470-1524), daughter of King Alfonso II of Naples and wife of Duke Gian Galeazzo II Maria Sforza of Milan. However, we are nowadays so distant from the truth regarding "Mona Lisa" and the life of her great court painter Leonardo da Vinci that it is no longer enough to support this theory with contemporary written and pictorial historical sources. We need the help of anthropology.