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Dianne Hales Presents MONA LISA: A LIFE DISCOVERED at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, 9/11

On Thursday, September 11 at 7 p.m. award-winning author Dianne Hales will present her latest book,"Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered" at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum.

Every year, 9 million visitors to the Louvre visit a gallery in which one small portrait-the lone painting on an immense wall-sits inside a bulletproof glass case, further protected by the watchful eyes of 24-hour security guards. It is the most famous painting on earth, but in spite of its international fame, the life and times of the portrait's subject have largely remained a mystery-until now.

When new findings identified Leonardo da Vinci's model as Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, Dianne Hales was intrigued and set out to reconstruct Lisa's life, taking readers on a journey through Italy, to archives and libraries, piazze and palazzi, abandoned chapels, and fairytale castles. Hales's Italian knighthood (granted for her previous book La Bella Lingua) gave her unfettered access to archives and experts, including Lisa's last living descendants. The result of her extensive research is an intriguing blend of biography, history, and memoir that takes readers beyond Leonardo's masterpiece and introduces us to the woman behind the smile.

Lisa Gherardini was a quintessential woman of her times. Descended from ancient nobles, her life was a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals spanning the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence - decades of war, rebellion, invasion, siege, and conquest, and the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, including larger than life figures such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli.

Hales also offers new insight into the life and works of da Vinci and the long-debated question of why he chose Lisa -a woman without title, influence or prestige - as his subject, and why da Vinci continued to rework the portrait until his death in 1519. She then traces the dramatic history of the painting, including the kings who cherished her, the poets who rhapsodized over her, the thief who stole her, the artists who mocked her, and the advertisers who exploited her.

Dianne Hales is an award-winning author who has served as a contributing editor for Parade, Ladies Home Journal, Working Mother and American Health, and has written for numerous national publications including Glamour, the New York Times, Psychology Today, the Washington Post, and many other well-known publications. Her books include La Bella Lingua, Just Like a Woman and Caring for the Mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

Admission of $10 or $5 for members, includes a light reception. Books will be available for sale for the author to sign.

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, located at 420 Tompkins Avenue, Staten Island, NY, was the home of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, and a refuge to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero who championed the unification of Italy. For over 50 years the museum has fulfilled its mission to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of the Italian-American heritage through cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes. The historic Italian landmark on Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned by the Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the NYSOSIA?GMM?Board of Commissioners.

Regular museum hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 per person, members and children under 10 are free. Call ahead for groups of 10 or more. The first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible, but the restroom is on the second floor. At press time, program funding has been provided through the Order Sons of Italy in America; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Richmond County Savings Foundation; Northfield Bank Foundation; Coccia Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Regrant in partnership with the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI); The Staten Island Foundation; The Lois and Richard Nicotra Foundation and by grants allocated by New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo.

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