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Why Is This Lady Smiling?


In this fictional tale set in the year 1498, Leonardo da Vinci is commissioned to paint the image of a silk merchant's wife. Playfully altering the woman's natural smile, he came up with a masterpiece that will eventually become an integral part of art history, the Mona Lisa.



Air Dates

  • First Run - May 26, 1982
  • Repeat - September 1, 1982





30     6

7 Responses to Episode 1333

The face of an angel was taken by the plague only to live forever in the hearts of all men. :]


Just recently listened to this episode; it's one of the better ones I've heard so far.


Just kind of a so-so episode. I did enjoy the historical content--Lianardo da Vinci and Mona Lisa. Just 3 stars.


Another historically inaccurate and internally inconsistent episode. 1: The story opens in 1498, when Leonardo paints the Mona Lisa. It later skips ahead "four years," meaning we're now in at least 1502. But later we're told that the model for the Mona Lisa died "before 1500." So how could she have been around in 1502? Furthermore ... 2: Wikipedia says that the Mona Lisa "is believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506, although Leonardo may have continued working on it as late as 1517." That is, not 1498.


@ Thomas, in spite of what the Mystery theater said, Wikipedia says that Lisa del Giocondo outlived her husband and died in 1542. Another source says she may have lived to the year 1551. Also there is even question of the identity of the model. Some say she was Leonardo's own mother painted from memory. Given that the Mona Lisa's features closely resemble a young Leonardo.

D.C. Klinkensmit

I find it odd that Leonardo and Mona Lisa have American accents, but Mona Lisa’s husband has an Italian accent.


I loved this very playful episode, which is clearly an audio novelization merely based upon actual historical events. Leonardo was a somewhat pompous ar$e, but in a humorous way. The very simple girl Lisa evidently could not help but smile a completely vacuous smile every minute of her life. You are left to wonder what "the smile" looked like before he accidentally changed it to what we see today. They considered it to be completely hideous before he "fixed" it. I found myself imagining Mona Lisa with a huge, toothy, horse grin. It was really a fun performance, especially with the overly self-confident Leonardo. It's actually sad in the end because you develop an affection for the Lisa character, only to find out...


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