It is generally believed that the model was Lisa Del Giocondo, wife of the Florentine merchant Francesco Del Giocondo, who died in Saint Ursula’s convent in Florence in the mid-16th century. A skeleton exhumed in 2012 from the site of the convent will now undergo DNA testing, which will then be compared with the results of similar testing on the remains of Lisa Del Giocondo’s son and husband, who were buried in a family tomb in the Santissima Annunziata church. Silvano Vinceti, the ‘art sleuth who has been pushing the project ahead, said,
The final phase is starting, the one that can’t go wrong. We are hoping for a positive result.
The testing will take about four months. The decision to go ahead with DNA testing was taken after carbon-14 testing two of the three skeletons discovered in the Convent of Saint Ursula were found to be too old to be considered. However it was impossible to date the third skeleton for the lack of collagen in the bone, whereas testing on the other two was possible by using scrapings from their tooth enamel.