Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" Discovered to Have Died in 1542 and Buried in a Convent

Monalisa1000_1Author Giuseppe Pallanti found a death notice in the archives of a church in Florence that referred to "the wife of Francesco del Giocondo," the famed Mona Lisa of Leonardo Da Vinci, "deceased July 15, 1542, and buried at Sant'Orsola," the Italian press reported Friday.

Born Lisa Gherardini in May 1479, later to become known through the ages as Da Vinci's symbol of feminine mystique, she is thought to have been the second wife of Del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant, with whom she had five children.

While intrigue has surrounded the identity of the woman in the famous unsigned, undated Leonardo da Vinci painting housed at the Louvre in Paris, Lisa Gherardini is widely accepted to have been the subject.

"It was in this convent" Sant'Orsola, where she died at age 63, now disused and in ruins, near the San Lorenzo basilica "that Mona Lisa placed her youngest daughter Marietta, who later became a nun. And it was there that Lisa, as stipulated in the will of her husband who died four years before her, ended her life," Pallanti told the daily La Repubblica on Friday.

Pallanti, author of Mona Lisa Revealed: The True Identity of Leonardo's Model, has spent nearly three decades combing Florence's archives.