Today, Ros and I are delighted to have the opportunity to host Mary Hoffman during her blog tour! Mary has taken the time to write a post all about whether there is a history between Michelangelo and Monna Lisa!
So thank you for visiting Mary, the stage (or uh… computer screen, if you want to get technical) is all yours!
Yes, according to me there is! I wanted to get it into the novel but there wasn’t a good place to insert it where it wouldn’t hold up the action of the story. Maybe I’ll write it as an optional extra on my website when the mass market paperback comes out in 2012. There is a very strange book by a Frenchman called Pierre La Mure: The Private life of Mona Lisa. I read it in the Bodleian Library in an afternoon.
His premise that Lisa Gherardini was loved by and even had a child by Giuliano de’ Medici and was then hastily married off to old del Giocondo, is not supported by any evidence but it is tempting to think that Michelangelo might have met her, when they were both young, at the table of the sculptor’s great patron, Lorenzo de’ Medici (“the Magnificent”).
So I started musing about that and wondered if Michelangelo might have seen in Lisa that which later Leonardo saw too and taught the world to see. If they had known each other after his dust-up with Torrigiani, while I describe in David, then Michelangelo would have already had a broken nose that wouldn’t have improved his looks and we know he wasn’t very rigorous about personal hygiene.
So young Lisa might well have preferred a handsomer, sweeter-smelling contemporary – Giuliano de’ Medici or some other. And that’s not to say she was shallow; she would have been a teenager and reasonably influenced by external features. She wasn’t to know that one day Michelangelo would be the most famous artist in Florence, in Italy, maybe the world.
Michelangelo gives Gabriele some advice when he is struggling with his own tangled love life:
‘A long time ago,’ he said. ‘I decided there was too much pain in love. Since then I’ve put everything I feel into my work.’
I could see he was telling the truth; something very bad must have happened to him at some time in the past, something he wouldn’t have told his family in Settignano or Florence.
Well I had it in mind that this bad thing had been an unrequited passion for Lisa Gherardini when they were both young. Knowing his could not have her, Michelangelo foreswore all relationships with women. Indeed, apart from Vittoria Colonna, I think that Monna Lisa was the only woman Michelangelo ever found physically attractive,
Now, wouldn’t that make a novel?
Thank you again for taking the time to explore a little deeper into the history of Michelangelo for us! We want to wish you the best for the rest of your tour!
If you would like to know more about Mary and her book ‘David’, you can
stalk find her at her official website, follow her on Twitter, check our her Facebook page or lurk around her blog for the latest news!