Mona Lisa’s Burial Site Discovered

Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona LisaArguably, the most famous painting in the world is Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa. There is a lot that is mysterious about the painting, from her hint of a smile (what was she thinking about?) to the relationship between Mona Lisa and DaVinci (were they ever dating?) to her real name (is it Lisa Gherardini or Lisa Giocondo?).

One of the unsolved mysteries has always been where she was buried. Well, experts now think they know.

An art expert in Italy, Giuseppe Pallanti, poured over thousands of ancient documents. He said they showed that Mona Lisa was buried in the Convent of St. Orsula in Florence, Italy.

Pallanti said that in the late 1400s, Mona Lisa lived with her husband, Francesco Del Giocondo, right across the street from Da Vinci.

Pallanti wants to have Mona Lisa’s body dug up—a process known as “exhuming”—in order to solve some of the other mysteries about her. Lots of experts have theories about her smile, which is mysterious, and her hands, which appear slightly too large for her body. Some say that the portrait was done to commemorate the birth of her second child, and that she was pregnant at the time of the sitting. Others say it’s not even a portrait of Lisa Gherardini—it’s a painting of the artist himself, or one of his lovers in disguise.

There are other theories about Mona Lisa (Mona is a short form for “Madonna” and means “my lady”). One is that she suffered from a disease called syphillis. People say that to treat the disease she was getting mercury treatment, which turned her teeth black and that’s why she kept her lips together instead of smiling.

A dentist in the U.S. says her tight smile is typical of people who have lost their front teeth.

Mona Lisa expert Giuseppe Pallanti.
Giuseppe Pallanti holds up the paper that says where Lisa Gherardini is buried. Picture: EPA

A doctor in Denmark says Mona Lisa suffered from a condition called “palsy,” which affected the left side of her face and made her hands overly large.

One of the world’s foremost experts on Leonardo Da Vinci is Carlo Pedretti. He is very happy that Mona Lisa’s resting place has been found and said that if they can dig up her bones they can get the answers they need from her DNA. They said they can “rebuild” her body as it would have been and recreate the way she was sitting in the portrait. He is excited that Pallanti made the discovery and is eager to find out more.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
“Arguably, the most famous painting in the world is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.” This painting was created almost 700 years ago, but it is still the subject of debates, theories and investigations. Why do you think people are so interested in this particular painting?

Reading Prompt
Many different theories and “hypotheses” (a possible explanation for a set of facts) are given by many different people to explain the subject of the Mona Lisa and its appearance. Why do you think Leonardo Da Vinci chose to make his painting look this way?

Make inferences about texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts as evidence (OME, Reading 1.5)

Develop interpretations about texts using stated and implied ideas to support their interpretations (OME, Reading 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Parentheses
Today’s article includes a sentence containing three sets of parentheses. Parentheses, or brackets ( ) are used to mark off texts in various ways. They enclose additional information within a sentence to give examples, other details, or comments by the author of the text.

Insert parentheses in the following sentences:

1. Joshua sat beside his mom she was not happy with him.

2. Stephanie with red curly hair is a great dancer.

3. I’ve looked everywhere for my keys at home and at school.