SOURCE: AP (2-21-07)
Giuseppe Pallanti, a high school economics teacher from Florence who has written a book about the Mona Lisa, has unearthed a death certificate that shows the woman believed by some to have inspired the artist, Lisa Gherardini, died on July 15, 1542, in Florence and is buried in a convent in the center of the Tuscan city.
"Maybe Leonardo chose a woman like many others. She was not a noblewoman, or a princess. She was a family woman," Pallanti said Friday.
Gherardini was born in 1479 and married a rich silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo. She has been linked to the painting, known in Italian as La Gioconda, because Giorgio Vasari, a 16th-century artist and biographer of Leonardo and other artists, wrote that Leonardo painted a portrait of del Giocondo's wife.