Who is 'Mona Lisa?' Her identity could be revealed through DNA testing

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Have you ever wondered who was the muse behind one of the most famous paintings, the "Mona Lisa?" The mystery might be solved sooner than you think.

After centuries of speculation, the true identity of the smiling woman could finally be solved through DNA testing. On Friday (August 9), researchers opened a family tomb in Florence, Italy, to confirm the identity of Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo, Leonardo da Vinci's neighbor (who is believed to be the woman in the painting). Her husband and sons are buried are in crypt, and researchers will use her sons' DNA to try to try to find a match to three skeletons that were discovered last year at a nearby convent. They believe that one of the skeletons discovered could be the remains of Gherardini.

"When we find a match between mother and child -- then we will have found the Mona Lisa," Silvano Vinceti, Italy's National Committee for the Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage head, said in an interview with Reuters.

If the archeologists find a match to one of the skeletons (which could take a year), experts plan to reconstruct Lisa Gherardini's face to compare it to the 16th century painting.

So who was Mona Lisa, and why did Da Vinci paint her? Art experts believe Gherardini's husband commissioned the famous painter to create his wife's portait in the early 1500s to celebrate her pregnancy or the birth of their child. After her husband's death, experts believe she became a nun at Saint Ursula and was buried near the altar -- as was the custom.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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