Tuscan archives yield up secrets of Leonardo’s mystery mother

By Dalya Alberge

Art historian's book sheds new light on the Mona Lisa

The identity of Leonardo da Vinci's mother has always been a mystery. Art historians have struggled to find information about the woman whose illegitimate son became the artistic genius who painted Mona Lisa. With only a possible first name – Caterina – there has been speculation that she was a peasant or even a slave from north Africa. Beyond that, there is little to go on.

Now, almost six centuries later, one of the world's leading authorities on Leonardo has given a far fuller account of her story, piecing together her son's world using previously overlooked documents.

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Source: Tuscan archives yield up secrets of Leonardo’s mystery mother