11.There is also a somewhat crazy theory that the painting depicts Leonardo da Vinci himself.
Some claimed that Salai (Giovanni Francesco Caprotti), the master's pupil and confidant, or perhaps lover, posed for the portrait. However, the prevailing view was that the master portrayed Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant.
12.In 2005, an expert from the Heidelberg University Library discovered a note stating that Leonardo was working on a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo.
The note was made in 1503, in the margin of a book written by Cicero. Book belonged to Agostino Vespucci, a Florentine chancellery official, clerk, and assistant to Niccolò Machiavelli.
13.Lisa was born on 15 June 1479. She was the daughter of Antonmaria di Noldo Gherardini and his third Lucrezia del Caccia.
Before Lucrezia, Antonmaria had been married twice, but both his previous wives died in childbirth. So Lisa was the first child of the family, born in one of the houses in Via Sguazza in Florence.
14.A few years ago, a plaque was placed on the wall of this building, commemorating the birthplace of Mona Lisa.
15.Lisa had younger sisters and studied with them at the convent of San Niccolo di Cafaggio.
When she was fifteen, she married to Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo. The groom was a 29 years old widower with one son. The wedding took place in March 1495. As a dowry, the bride brought 170 florins and a small estate of San Silvestro, south of Florence.
16.The young couple settled in Francesco's house in the Via della Stufa near the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Lisa's husband was a moderately wealthy silk merchant who ran a store near Ponte Vecchio. The silks were profitable, so the family became rich. Lisa gave birth to six children, three daughters and three sons. One daughter died as an infant, and two of her older daughters became nuns at the convent of San Domenico di Cafaggio.
17.In March 1503, the family moved to a new house that Francesco bought in the vicinity of his family home in Via della Stufa - probably the house that now bears number 23.
The date of the move coincides with the beginning of the pose for the famous portrait.
18.Leonardo da Vinci met Francesco del Giocondo when he returned to Florence from Milan in the spring of 1500.
Without work or money, he stayed at the convent at Santissima Annunziata, where he promised to paint an altar painting in exchange for hospitality. Leonardo's father introduced his son to Lisa's husband, who supplied the convent with fabrics. Perhaps it was then that he proposed to paint a portrait of Gioconda.
19.Leonardo painted the portrait of Lisa between 1503 and 1507.
In 1503 he was also commissioned to paint The Battle of Anghiari (Palazzio Vecchio), with a deadline of February 1505. The portrait of Lisa did not reach the commissioner, as the master may not have finished it while in Florence. She took it with her to France - it is said that he still made corrections to it in 1517.
20.Lisa's husband died in 1538 and was buried in the family crypt.
After his death, the widow moved to an Ursuline convent where her daughter took vows. Lisa lived there for four years and died in 1542. Her corpse was buried in the monastery.