By  on January 5, 2009

Gherardini, the historic Florentine bagmaker, has turned to a mighty ancestor for its relaunch — the Mona Lisa.

According to Giorgio Vasari, the renowned contemporary scholar of Renaissance art, the legendary lady portrayed by Leonardo da Vinci was a member of the Gherardini family. So last year when bag manufacturer Braccialini acquired 42-year-old Gherardini, it decided to exploit the family’s lineage with a project called Re-Thinking Mona Lisa, held during Pitti Woman in June.

Gherardini commissioned contemporary artists from all over the world to reinterpret da Vinci’s iconic painting. The panels were then scanned and the designs printed onto limited edition bags, which will be on sale in namesake boutiques in Rome, Milan and Florence in February.

For spring 2009, Gherardini also revisits the Bellona bag, its most iconic piece. The bag is available in traditional designs and materials such as calfskin and crocodile, alongside more modern versions made from materials such as eel skin and transparent plastic with gold trimmings. Retail prices start at $640.

Three Bellona bags, one of which is designed by Italian artist Giacomo Piussi, have also been commissioned as one-off pieces, which were auctioned on eBay in December.

The proceeds from the auction and the sales of the Re-Thinking Mona Lisa bags will go toward the restoration of the Museo del Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence.

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