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renaissance studies

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

Dianne Hales.
Publisher Simon & Schuster  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1 inches
ISBN 9781451658965
Pages/Publication Date 318/2014
Daedalus Item Code 53072
This item is not available.
Everybody knows her smile, yet almost no one knows her story. Lisa Gherardini (1479–1542) was a quintessential woman of her times, living through a tumult of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. So why did the most renowned painter of her time choose her as his model? What became of her? And why does her smile enchant us still? In telling the story of the woman who became famous as Mona Lisa, Dianne Hales creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence and the larger-than-life figures of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli.

"Biography, history, and memoir are woven together in Hales's lyrical biography.... Hales paints a vivid history of the dramatic, often violent Renaissance Florence in which Gherardini lived: a town populated with scheming politicians, warring religious factions, and artists boasting rock-star popularity. Intertwined with this tale is Gherardini's personal biography as a daughter, a merchant's wife, a devoted mother, and a family matriarch—a story that provides counterpoint to the epic, male-dominated history of the age. The verifiable facts of Gherardini's life are scarce, so Hales leans heavily on 'informed imagination,' delving deeply into the customs, rituals, and relationships that governed women's lives in Renaissance Italy. Throughout the book, she scours archives, interrogates scholars, and walks the streets of Florence, seeking traces of Gherardini in detail and in spirit. These first-person accounts reveal the author's deep kinship with Gherardini, and her quest endows human subjectivity to one of art history's greatest icons."—Booklist

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