Maybe they should call it the “Mama Lisa.” Researchers studying 3-D images of the “Mona Lisa” say she was probably either pregnant or had just given birth when she sat for Leonardo da Vinci’s 16th-century masterpiece. The clue was something she wore.Scans turned up evidence of a fine, gauzy veil around Mona Lisa’s shoulders — a garment women of the Italian Renaissance wore when they were expecting, a leading French museum researcher, Michel Menu, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday.
Tradition holds that the “Mona Lisa” is a painting of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Florentine merchant Francesco del Giocondo, and that Leonardo started painting it in 1503. In France, the painting, on display at the Louvre Museum, is referred to as La Joconde — the French version of her married name. The name Mona Lisa is the equivalent of “Madam Lisa.” The veil “would confirm art historians’ hypothesis that Giocondo asked for a painting of his wife to celebrate the birth of his second son,” said Menu, chief of the research department at the French Museums’ Center for Research and Restoration, which has its offices in the Louvre.