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Lisa del Giocondo

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Lisa del Giocondo
Mona Lisa, a portrait of Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci
Lisa Gherardini

(1479-06-15)15 June 1479
Via Maggio, Republic of Florence
Died15 July 1542(1542-07-15) (aged 63)
Convent of Saint Orsola, Duchy of Florence
Known forSubject of Mona Lisa
Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo (m. 1495)

Lisa del Giocondo (15 June 1479 – 15 July 1542) was an Italian noblewoman and a member of the Gherardini family from Florence. She was the model for the Mona Lisa portrait. The portrait was commissioned by her husband and painted by Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance.

Born in Florence and she married when she was young to a cloth and silk merchant who later became a local official. They had five children together, and she lived a comfortable and ordinary life. Lisa outlived her much older husband.

After Lisa died, the Mona Lisa became the most famous painting in the world.[1] In 2005, it was confirmed that Lisa was indeed the model for the Mona Lisa.[2]

Early life[change | change source]

Giocondo's family in Florence used to be rich and important, but as time passed, their power and status declined.[3] They had a decent income from farming, but they weren't rich. This was in a city where some people were very rich and others were not.[4]

Lisa's father, Antonmaria di Noldo Gherardini, came from a family that had lived near San Donato in Poggio and had just moved to the city.[5] Gherardini used to own or rent six farms in Chianti. These farms made wheat, wine, olive oil, and raised animals.[6]

Gherardini had two wives, Lisa di Giovanni Filippo de' Carducci, whom he married in 1465, and Caterina di Mariotto Rucellai, whom he married in 1473, but, both wives died during childbirth.[7] Lisa's mother was Lucrezia del Caccia, daughter of Piera Spinelli, and she became Gherardini's wife through his third marriage in 1476.[7]

Lisa was born on June 15, 1479, in Via Maggio,[7] even though some people used to think she was born at their family's rural property near Greve called Villa Vignamaggio.[8] She was named after her grandfather's wife, also named Lisa.[9] Lisa was the oldest of seven children, with three sisters, including one named Ginevra, and three brothers, Giovangualberto, Francesco, and Noldo.[10]

Marriage and later life[change | change source]

At the age of fifteen she married Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo, a cloth and silk merchant in 1495. As a dowry she brought 170 florins and the farm San Silvestro. She had five children: Piero, Piera, Camilla, Marietta, and Andrea.[11] In 1521 their daughter Marietta became one of the Roman Catholic nuns in the renowned monastery of Sant'Orsola. When her husband died of the plague in 1538, Lisa also went to live in that monastery. She lived there for several years and was buried there.[12]

Mona Lisa[change | change source]

The full Mona Lisa painting

Francesco and his family were passionate about art. They hired various artists for different commissions. They asked Antonio di Donnino Mazzieri to paint a fresco in their family burial place. Andrea del Sarto painted a Madonna for another family member, and Francesco even hired Leonardo to paint a portrait of his wife, Lisa.[13] The Mona Lisa, which is now famous, was created as a portrayal of a virtuous woman. Lisa is shown as a faithful wife with her right hand resting over her left. Leonardo made her look fashionable and well-off, wearing Spanish-influenced high-fashion clothing. The portrait's size was quite extravagant, matching the standards of wealthier art patrons of that era.[14]

In 1503, Leonardo needed money, so he worked on the Mona Lisa, but he had to pause when he received a more valuable commission for "The Battle of Anghiari" later that year.[15] In 1506, he considered the portrait unfinished, wasn't paid for it, and didn't give it to the client.[16] He likely completed it years later in France.[17]

The title "Mona Lisa" came about in 1550 when Giorgio Vasari, who knew Francesco's family, mentioned that Leonardo painted it for Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa's husband. In Italian, it's called "La Gioconda," the feminine form of her married name. In French, it's known as "La Joconde," which also carries the meaning of "the happy one", derived from the word "jocund".[17]

References[change | change source]

  1. Riding, Alan (6 April 2005). "In Louvre, New Room With View of 'Mona Lisa'". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  2. "Mona Lisa – Heidelberg discovery confirms identity)". University Library Heidelberg. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  3. Pallanti 2006, p. 58
  4. Pallanti 2006, pp. 17, 23, 24
  5. Kemp, Martin (2017). Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting. p. 10.
  6. Pallanti 2006, pp. 41–44
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Pallanti 2006, p. 37
  8. "History of Vignamaggio". Villa Vignamaggio. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  9. Pallanti 2006, p. 40
  10. Pallanti 2006, p. 44
  11. Riddle of Mona Lisa is finally solved: she was the mother of five
  12. Mona Lisa Grave Found, Claims Scholar
  13. Zöllner 1993, p. 9
  14. Zöllner 1993, p. 12
  15. Müntz 1898, p. 136
  16. Müntz 1898, p. 136
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Mona Lisa 1503–16". University of the Arts, London. Retrieved 10 October 2023.

Bibliography[change | change source]