The Medical Lives of History`s Famous People

Indexed in: EBSCO

This eBook “ Medical Lives of History`s Famous People” highlights the consequences of numerous medical concerns of historical individuals. It also discusses in depth how the public lives of ...
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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 birth.


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.