Who was the real Mona Lisa - la donna vera? Why did Leonardo choose to paint her? And why does her smile enchant us still? American journalist Dianne Hales decides to find out.
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.
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