The story of the original Mona Lisa
‘Smile‘ is the feature with which we most associate Leonard da Vinci and his subject ‘Mona Lisa’. It is enigmatic. Who was ‘Mona Lisa’? Furthermore, why did Leonardo choose to paint her? What was their relationship?
In ‘Smile’, Mary Hoffman contemplates the story of the woman behind the painting. Researchers consider she was Lisa Gherardini, ‘the wife of a Florentine silk merchant’. However, little more is known. Leonardo was famous and in-demand during his lifetime, so why did he choose to paint Lisa?
The subject narrates her story, suggesting that she was the subject of a treasured earlier work by Leonardo. Thereafter she describes her life, from her family, to her Florence setting, her concerns at the rise of Savaranola’s pious fascism, to expectations of her as a young woman. Mary Hoffman’s story is convincing for we care about Lisa’s success and survival, while realising the relative inequality and lack of opportunity for women of her time. ‘Smile’ is a confident, informative title suggestive of the age, smell and turmoil of the time of Leonardo, Michelangelo and ‘La Gioconda’ We are proud to introduce this book aboard Bookwagon, sharing a similar platform to White Eagles, another recent entry.