Following yesterday's news about the identity of the woman we know as Mona Lisa, the Toronto Star newspaper today printed an interview with one of her ancestors, a Tuscan woman who is quite used to the limelight.
According to feature writer Sandro Contenta, the lineage of Lisa Gherardini (Mona Lisa) runs to the family of princess Natalia Giucciardini Strozzi, who today helps manage her family's 1,000-year-old winery and who twice hosted former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the estate.
Strozzi is thirty years old and traces her roots to two noble Florentine families of the Renaissance, the Gucciardinis and the Strozzis. She muses about Leonardo's famous portrait and tells the Star, "I don't have her smile at all. But around the eyes, people have said there's a resemblance...But our father, when he does that smile, it's precisely the same. You can see our father in the Mona Lisa's smile."
The Strozzi family history is a fascinating read, a story that includes relations with some of the greats of the Italian Renaissance - artists Michelangelo and Leonardo, important banking families and the philosopher Machiavelli.
If you'd like to follow the details of this story, the link to the Toronto Star article is here.
Thanks to photographer Jack Kuzuian for his beautiful photograph of Florence's Arno River at sunset. He made his photo available at http://www.sxc.hu/
Reflections on Leonardo's Vitruvian Man