Lisa del Giocondo Biography


Birthday: June 15, 1479 (Gemini)

Born In: Florence, Italy

Lisa del Giocondo was an Italian noblewoman whose portrait was painted by world-renowned artist Leonardo da Vinci after it was commissioned by Lisa's husband Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo during the Italian Renaissance. The portrait, Mona Lisa, went on to become one of the world's most recognized and iconic paintings of all time. Regarded as an exemplary masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, the Mona Lisa is one of the most valuable paintings and the most visited work of art in the world. In 2005, Lisa del Giocondo was definitively identified as the woman who modeled for the Mona Lisa.

Quick Facts

Italian Celebrities Born In June

Also Known As: Lisa Gherardini

Died At Age: 63


Spouse/Ex-: Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo (m. 1495 – 1538)

father: Antonmaria di Noldo Gherardini

mother: Lucrezia del Caccia

siblings: Camilla gherardini, Francesco gherardini, Ginevra gherardini, Giovangualberto gherardini, Noldo gherardini

children: Andrea del Giocondo, Giocondo del Giocondo, Piero del Giocondo, Suor Beatrice, Suor Ludovica

Born Country: Italy

Noblewomen Italian Women

Died on: July 15, 1542

place of death: Florence, Italy

Early Life & Marriage

Lisa del Giocondo was born Lisa Gherardini on June 15, 1479, in Via Maggio, Republic of Florence, to Lucrezia del Caccia and Antonmaria di Noldo Gherardini. She was named after one of her paternal grandfather's wives. Lisa was born into an aristocratic family which had lost its influence over time. Her family lived on farm income in one of the largest cities in Europe. The eldest of seven children, Lisa was raised alongside three sisters and three brothers.

Lisa del Giocondo was married off to a moderately successful silk and cloth merchant named Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo when she was 15 years old. Her wedding took place on March 5, 1495, whereupon she became Francesco’s third wife. The couple led a middle-class life in Florence and lived in shared accommodation. On 5 March 1503, Francesco bought a house next to his family's old home where the couple started living. Lisa and Francesco were blessed with five children; four of them were born between 1496 and 1507. In 1499, the couple lost a baby daughter soon after her birth. Apart from raising her own children, Lisa also raised Bartolomeo, Francesco's son from his previous marriage to Camilla.

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Da Vinci’s Model

Lisa del Giocondo’s husband Francesco and his family members were art lovers. They patronized and commissioned many artworks during the Italian Renaissance. Apart from commissioning a painting of Saint Francis of Assisi, which was commissioned to Domenico Puligo, Francesco also commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint a portrait of his wife Lisa. It is believed that he commissioned his wife’s portrait to celebrate the purchase of their new home as well as the birth of their daughter Andrea.

In the painting, which was titled Mona Lisa, Lisa has been portrayed as a woman of virtue. She has also been depicted as a faithful wife; right hand resting over her left is a gesture of a faithful wife. She has also been presented as successful and fashionable; her black veil and dark clothes were Spanish-influenced high fashion. Interestingly, Leonardo da Vinci did not deliver the painting to Francesco as he was not paid for the work. The portrait, much like Da Vinci’s other works, traveled with the artist throughout his life. Ultimately, it was acquired by King Francis I of France and is currently one of the most prized possessions of the French Republic itself.

Death & Legacy

According to a popular account, Lisa del Giocondo fell ill during the plague of 1538 and died on July 15, 1542, when she was 63 years old. Several years after her death, her portrait attained an iconic status. Its theft from the Louvre Museum in Paris and its subsequent travels to Asia and North America contributed immensely to the painting's fame. By the end of the 20th century, the Mona Lisa had become a global icon and had been used in over 2,000 advertisements around the world. The portrait is often described as the most recognized, most visited, most sung about, most parodied, and most written about work of art in the world. It is also one of the world's most valuable paintings and is visited by about six million people each year from all over the world.

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