Description: A genius immortalised 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 recognised 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?
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 internationally bestselling book, La Bella Lingua.
Abridged by Eileen Horne
Reader: Nancy Crane
Producer: Clive Brill
A Brill production for BBC Radio 4.
1/5 Who was the real Mona Lisa? And why did Leonardo paint her? Dianne Hales investigates.
2/5 Dianne Hales delves into the history of Mona Lisa’s ancestors to understand her character.
3/5 Mona Lisa is born into a turbulent era, just as an artistic star from Vinci is on the rise
4/5 As Leonardo delights the court of Milan, Florence is changing beyond all recognition
5/5 Leonardo returns to Florence and Francesco del Giocondo commissions a portrait of his wife
Nothing new to the table yet adequate as a primer.