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Italian Archaeologists Believe They Found Skeleton Of The Real Mona Lisa

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Much attention has been paid to Mona Lisa's smile throughout the years, but this week her skeleton is winding up in the spotlight. Italian archaeologists announced Tuesday they found the skeleton of Lisa Gherardini, believed to be the model for Leonardo's masterpiece, which currently hangs in The Louvre in Paris. Found near the convent of Sant'Orsola in Florence, the bones will be sent to the Department for the Conservation of Cultural Property for an examination.

Experts believed Mona Lisa's identity was discovered after notes from 1503 were discovered in the margin of a book in which an acquaintance of Leonardo da Vinci wrote that Leonardo was currently working on a portrait of Lisa Gherardini. 16th century art historian Giogrio Vasari was another reliable source to identify Gherardini as the model, writing about it in his "Lives Of Artists." Giuseppe Pallanti, a historian who has written three books delving into Mona Lisa's story, determined after 25 years of research that Leonardo's father was Gherardini's neighbor in Via Ghibellina.

The hunt for Gherardini's remains has been ridden with controversy, as many of her family members believe her body should be left in peace. Her descendant Natalia Guicciardini Strozzi, an Italian princess, told The Telegraph that the search for her bones was a "sacrilegious act." The princess then asked: "What difference would finding her remains make to the allure of Leonardo's painting?"

What do you think, readers? Can any archaeological discovery really solve the mystery of Mona Lisa's smile?
Let us know your thoughts.

Correction: A previous edition of this article referred to Natalia Strozzi as Mona Lisa's ancestor. She is her descendant. We regret the error.

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