In this study Rab Hatfield provides a thorough, no-nonsense analysis of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa or Gioconda. The book begins with a consideration of the generally known sources and documents and a careful look at the painting as we know it now. Discussions follow of rarely examined laboratory photographs and of a recently discovered annotation by Ser Agostino Vespucci in a book he owned of letters by Cicero, from which we learn that Leonardo left a portrait of "Lisa del Giocondo" unfinished no later than October 1503. The book concludes with a hitherto unknown letter written in 1515 by Filippo Strozzi to Lorenzo de' Medici, Captain General of the Florentine Armies and soon to become Duke of Urbino, describing some supposed advances these two men made to Mon(n)a Lisa. The laboratory photographs and newly discovered sources make it clear that the Mona Lisa has probably been reworked twice, that it in fact depicts Mon(n)a Lisa del Giocondo, and that it would be better if we spoke of it as La Gioconda rather than the Mona Lisa.
Rab Hatfield was born in 1937 in New York City. He received his higher education at Harvard and the University of Munich. From 1966 to 1971 he taught at Yale and from 1971 to 2012 at Syracuse University in Florence. A three-time Fellow of Villa I Tatti, he has also been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. His recent books are The Wealth of Michelangelo (2002); Finding Leonardo: The Case for Recovering the Battle of Anghiari (2007); and Botticelli and Herbert Horne, of which he was the editor and to which he contributed an essay on Botticelli's Primavera (2009). He is also the author of a recent essay on Michelangelo's fortifications that appeared in Michelangelo e il linguaggio dei disegni di architettura, edited by Golo Maurer and Alessandro Nova (2012). Now retired, Professor Hatfield lives outside of Florence.
Contents: Part One: Setting the Stage I. Vasari and Some Other Well Known Sources and Documents. II. The Mona Lisa As We See It Now. Part Two: The Three Mona Lisas. III. The Changes: The x-ray photographs and the first Mona Lisa. IV. The Annotation of Ser Agostino Vespucci. V. Filippo Strozzi's letter.