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Identity of Leonardo da Vinci’s mother revealed in new OUP book

Identity of Leonardo da Vinci’s mother revealed in new OUP book

25 May 2017

Following ongoing speculation around the identity of Leonardo da Vinci’s mother, OUP book Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting by Professor Martin Kemp and Dr Giuseppe Pallanti—due for release on 8 June 2017—now identifies her as 15-year-old orphan Caterina di Meo Lippi, as a result of new research that has emerged.

Evidence supporting the identification of Caterina di Meo as Leonardo’s mother includes a tax return from Antonio da Vinci dated 28 February 1458, asserting that his 5-year-old grandson Leonardo was living with him. The research also shows that Caterina gave birth to Leonardo on 15 April 1452.

Mona Lisa: The People and the Painting tells the true story of the Mona Lisa, using previously undiscovered information about the families of Leonardo da Vinci and Lisa del Giocondo, the subject of the portrait. The book also includes revelations about Leonardo’s birthplace, as well as new information about Lisa's life as a wife and mother and the career and possessions of Leonardo’s father Ser Piero.

Author Martin Kemp is Emeritus Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University, and one of the world's leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci. He comments: ‘We cut though the suppositions and the myths about Leonardo and his work to show that the Mona Lisa portrait is a product of real people with ordinary lives. We sought to bring back a sense of reality into the creation of the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo.’

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