Mona Lisa and Cholesterol

What has Cholesterol got to do with that sphinx-like lady and her mysterious expression iconized in the famous Leonardo painting?  Quite a lot in fact, according to the findings of an  Italian medical expert who also delves into renaissance art, artists and their subjects.

A recent article in the New York Times reports that Professor Vito Franco of the pathology department at the University of Palermo thinks that the answer is obviously evident on close scrutiny : a case of high cholesterol. Citing specifics on the model’s face he refers to “a subcutaneous accumulation around her left eye.” Prof. Franco speculates that the model, believed to be Lisa Gheradini, the wife of a Florentine merchant, had very high cholesterol, and also the onset of “benign tumors composed of fatty tissue” on her hand!

I don’t know how you can deduce all these, but then I’m neither a researcher nor an expert. In fact, I haven’t even figured out if  that enigmatic smile is really a smile at all.

Wonder what the professor would study next? The voluptuous ladies in the Rubens paintings, perhaps?

One Response to “Mona Lisa and Cholesterol”

  1. Reubens would be a lot less fun…they would all have high Cholesterol for one thing and I’m also not really sure if Professor Franco would find his paintings anatomically satisfactory….a visual mamography of bathsheba at the fountain maybe?

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