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Mona Lisa A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales

Mona Lisa A Life Discovered


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Everybody knows her smile, but no one knows her story: Meet the woman who became the most famous artistic subjects of all time - Mona Lisa.


Mona Lisa A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales

A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre. Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story. Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, a blend of biography, history, and memoir, truly is a book of discovery-about the world's most recognized face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting. Who was she, this ordinary woman who rose to such extraordinary fame? 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? Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542) was a quintessential woman of her times, caught in a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. Her life spanned the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence-and of the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, with larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. In Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, Dianne Hales takes readers with her to meet Lisa's descendants; uncover her family's long and colourful history; and explore the neighbourhoods where she lived as a girl, a wife, and a mother.


This is cultural history that reads like a detective novel as Dianne Hales tracks down the real woman behind one of the world's most famous and enigmatic faces. Expertly sleuthing her way through the treasure troves of archives and palazzos, she offers her own fascinating portrait not just of Lisa Gherardini but also of the vibrant Renaissance world that nurtured both Lisa and Leonardo's painting. --Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Leonardo and The Last Supper

About the Author

Dianne Hales is a prize-winning, widely published journalist and author. The President of Italy awarded her an honorary knighthood in recognition of her bestselling book, La Bella Lingua. Her other works include Just Like a Woman; Caring for the Mind; and the leading college health textbook, An Invitation to Health. She has served as a contributing editor for Parade, Ladies Home Journal, Working Mother, and American Health and has written for many national publications, including Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, and Woman's Day.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Dianne Hales

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