Isabella di Aragona (October 2, 1470 – February 11, 1524) was born a princess of Naples, granddaughter of King Ferdinand I of Naples and daughter of King Alphonse II of Naples by his wife,Ippolita Sforza. From 1489 to 1494 she was the Duchess Consort of Milan, and from 1499 to 1524 the Duchess of Bari and Princess of Rossano. After her brother Ferdinand II's death, she was the heir of the Brienne claim to the title King of Jerusalem.
She married her first cousin Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan. They had one son and two daughters: Francesco (Duke of Milan in 1494-1512), Bona (Queen of Poland, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, and second wife of King Sigismund I of Poland), and Ippolita Maria, who died in 1501 at the age of 7. Isabella also outlived Francesco, who was killed in 1512 by falling from his horse. Of her three children, only Bona survived her.
It has been argued that Isabella is the model for Leonardo da Vinci's immortal painting the Mona Lisa. There have also been suggestions that she had a secret morganatic marriage to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), supposedly bearing him two sons and three daughters.
As for the Mona Lisa controversy, Maike Vogt-Lüerssen argues that the woman behind the famous smile is Isabella of Aragon, the Duchess of Milan. Leonardo
was the court painter for the Duke of Milan for 11 years. The pattern on Mona Lisa's dark green dress, Vogt-Lüerssen believes,
indicates that she is a member of the house of Sforza. Her theory is that the Mona Lisa was the first official portrait of the new Duchess of Milan,
which requires that it was painted in spring or summer 1489 (and not 1503). Notwithstanding the variety of theories, the recent findings of Heidelberg academics confirm
the traditional identification of the Mona Lisa as Lisa del Gioconda.
There is another portrait, painted by Raffaello Sanzio, (Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome, which shows much similarity with Isabella of Aragon. The dress of the lady is definitely from
1515 to 1525 and the young fair-haired woman shows the symbols of the Milanese House of Sforza, the bow, and the colours red
and white. Isabella of Aragon was at that time 45 to 55 years old and she had dark hair.