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Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered
by Dianne Hales
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"A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. No face has ever captivated so many for so long. Every year more than nine million visitors trek to her portrait in the Louvre. Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story. This book rests on the premise that the woman in the Mona Lisa is indeed the person identified in its earliest description: Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542), wife of the Florence merchant Francesco del Giocondo. Dianne Haleshas followed facts wherever she could find them -- from the Florence State Archives, to the squalid street where she was born, to the ruins of the convent where she died. Lisa Gherardini was a quintessential woman of her times, caught in a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. Descended from ancient nobles, she gave birth to six children and died at age sixty-three. Her life spanned the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence, decades of war, rebellion, invasion, siege, and conquest--and of the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, inhabited by larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. Mona Lisa: ALife Discovered takes readers beyond the frame of Leonardo's masterpiece and introduces them to a fully dimensional human being"--
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