The Mona Lisa painting, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, is one of the best-known works of art at a popular level.

To the many theories that have given rise over the years, now a curious detail has been added: two Italian sisters claim to be his descendants.

mysterious painting

One of the aspects that characterizes Leonardo’s famous Renaissance painting is the woman’s mysterious facial expression, something that for many is a true enigma. In fact, her gesture has been the subject of debate for many years.

Neuroscience research concluded that your facial expression is a sign of happiness. In fact, 97% of those surveyed understand it that way.

Another reason for discussion is the identity of the model. Now, a new fact emerges at this point.


Two Italian sisters have caused a great surprise, after claiming that they are descendants of the Mona Lisa. It is about the sisters Natalia and Irina Strozzi, who claim to be direct relatives of Lisa Gherardini, known as Lisa del Giocondo , the Florentine noblewoman who portrayed Leonardo Da Vinci and who we now all know as Mona Lisa .

The young women said in an interview with NBC News that their grandmother always told them about this relationship. Later, they corroborated this information with the Italian historian Domenico Savini, who investigated the Mona Lisa’s family tree.

The scholar pointed out that Natalia and Irina come from an ancient noble family of Florence, which came to have a power similar to that of the Medici, well-known patrons of the time.

According to the sisters, the businessman Francesco del Giocondo, husband of Lisa del Giocondo, was the one who asked Da Vinci to paint his wife. The link between the two was through the painter’s father, who was a notary who worked with the businessman.

Rabbi Hatfield is another scholar who vouches for the sisters’ story. He is a professor of art history at the University of Syracuse, in Florence and he states: “I can say with total certainty that the model for Leonardo’s famous painting was Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, so Natalia and Irina can be sure that this He is your ancestor.”

Relatives and more relatives

Natalia and Irina are daughters of Prince Girolamo Strozzi and therefore, entitled to the title of princesses.

Among his predecessors are military, political and even holy saints. Characters like Machiavelli, Michelangelo and the Medici are in his family tree. Therefore, when they learned that they were descendants of the Mona Lisa, after 15 generations, they were not too surprised.

For Irina and Natalia, the history of their family is like a novel, in which even the most improbable can happen.

Among the hills of the Tuscany region stands San Gimignano, a walled town and a few kilometers away is Cusona, a 530-hectare villa where the Strozzi, mortal enemies of the Medici, settled a thousand years ago. There is the family vineyard that produces the best European wines, so much so that Dante Alighieri praises it in The Divine Comedy .


The story of the Strozzi sisters came to light because of a scientific investigation that would definitively decipher the eternal mystery of the Mona Lisa’s identity. The National Committee for the Valuation of Historical Assets in Italy is excavating in the convent of Santa Ursula, Florence, where Lisa Gherardini would be buried.

The intention is to know if this woman is Da Vinci’s model. If they manage to find her skull, they will be able to digitally reconstruct her face and compare it to the artwork.

In order to identify the remains of the Mona Lisa, scientists will take a DNA sample from the bodies found at the site and then compare it with that of Gherardini’s two sons, also buried in Florence. Additionally, it will be possible to know if the Strozzi princesses are descendants of the Mona Lisa.


Although the story is very attractive and even sounds convincing, there are many who doubt that these two aristocrats are the descendants of Lisa Gherardini. When the newspaper Le Figaro took them to the Louvre museum to take a photo of them next to the painting, those responsible did not allow it and were furious, considering that the story was nonsense.

Others are extremely critical of the study and think it is something more worthy of a best seller than a true story.

The president of the committee in charge of the investigation affirmed that the idea of ​​exhuming the remains of what would be Lisa Gherardini arose from a revelation he had when studying the painting: “In the eyes of the Mona Lisa there are hidden an L and an S. The L would correspond to Lisa Gherardini or Leonardo. The S, to Salai, student of the painter. For me, Da Vinci was inspired by Lisa, but then I used Salai’s nose and smile”, he told an Italian publication.

The researcher thinks that proving with DNA that the princesses are related to the Mona Lisa is almost impossible, since they come from lateral branches of the family, which changes the genetic organization.

Natalia and Irina believe that removing the remains of their supposed relative is sacrilege. For them, there is irrefutable proof and that Natalia mentioned in an interview: “When I see the Mona Lisa, I see my father’s smile.”

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