Mona Lisa was a mom

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Mona Lisa had recently given birth to a baby, a team of Canadian and French scientists announced Tuesday, so her mysterious smile may have expressed the weary joy of a mother with a newborn.

Using infrared technology that allowed them to see beneath a layer of varnish, the researchers found that Leonardo da Vinci's model had a gauzy layer over her dress they say was typically worn by pregnant women of the time, or mothers who had recently given birth. The filmy robe was called a guarnello.

Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine cloth merchant. Records suggest she wasn't pregnant when she posed for Leonardo, but that the painting was commissioned to celebrate the birth of her third child, says Bruno Mottin, curator in the research department of the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France.

The infant was a boy, says Mr. Mottin, born before Leonardo began painting the Mona Lisa in the early 1500s.

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