Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, La Joconde, a/k/a the Mona Lisa, is a 16th-century portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of the wealthy Francesco del Giocondo, a local merchant. At least that was what we thought. However, some Italian researchers, specializing in solving art world mysteries, call that hokum.
At a press conference in Rome yesterday, one Silvano Vincenti, the head of the National Historic Commission in Italy, said that the model for the painting now known as The Mona Lisa was, in fact, probably Leonardo da Vinci's boyfriend Gian Giacomo Caprotti (nicknamed “Salai”). Salai was one of da Vinci’s male apprentices (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gian_Giacomo_Caprotti_-_Salai.jpg).
Caprotti started working as a model for da Vinci at the age of 10, and worked for him for more than 20 years. Silvano Vincenti also talked about many other paintings by da Vinci that look quite similar to the Mona Lisa.