The Bellʼs Palsy of Lisa Gherardini: The Solution to the Enigma of the Mona Lisaʼs Smile
Pp. 97-101 (5)
William James Maloney
The smile of ‘The Mona Lisa’ has enchanted researchers, art enthusiasts, and
historians for centuries. The smile can best be described as being enigmatic.
Academicians have presented numerous theories in an attempt to explain the nature of
the smile through the use of both modern technology and various documented facts
concerning the portrait. The true origin of the smile can finally be revealed. I theorize
that the smile is the direct result of the masterful representation of a woman who had
recently given birth and was affected by Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy is a condition which
is more commonly found in individuals who are either pregnant or have recently given
Art, Bellʼs palsy, decreased tearing, dizziness, electromyography,
facial nerve, gestational hypertension, Giocondo, hyperacusis, impaired taste,
Mona Lisa, preeclampsia, pregnancy, puerperium, smile, viral infection.
New York University College of Dentistry 345 First Avenue New York NY 10010 USA.