It’s the 540th birth anniversary of Lisa del Giocondo, the Italian noblewoman whose portrait, Mona Lisa , was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. This quiz, therefore, is all about models and inspirations.

Role models

1 Which famous literary character was inspired by a certain Veronique Delphine Delamare, wife of a village doctor, who scandalised her peers with her multiple affairs and then proceeded to take her own life?

2 Giovanni Aldini was an Italian physicist who experimented with animals. His uncle Luigi Galvani was well known for making dead frogs’ legs twitch, and Aldini performed the same experiments on dead cows, sheep and pigs. He also famously tried to revive an English criminal, George Forster, who had been executed for murder. Which literary character is inspired by Aldini?

3 Suzanne Valadon was an accomplished painter who also modelled extensively for the likes of Renoir, Toulose-Lautrec and Degas. Name her son, who also became a famous painter.

4 According to his creator Stan Lee, Iron Man was based on a person who was “one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies’ man and finally a nutcase”. Who did Lee base Iron Man on?

5 Joaquin Murrieta was a 19th-century Mexican bandit who was known for his attacks on supply wagons during the Californian Gold Rush. Which character of literature and films is inspired by him?

6 Dave Toschi was a well-known San Francisco police officer who was the inspiration for at least two famous fictional detectives. One was Frank Bullitt from the eponymous Bullitt . Who was the other?

7 Grant Wood used his family dentist and his sister, Nan, to pose for one of the most famous paintings in 20th-century history. Name the painting.

8 This French doctor was also an amateur painter who treated van Gogh and was the one summoned to save the painter’s life after he shot himself in 1890. He was also a model for some of the Dutch artist’s works. Name him.

9 Six-year-old Lynda Gunn was a granddaughter of a friend of artist Norman Rockwell and served as the model for one of his most famous paintings, The Problem We All Live With . With which specific movement in American history is it associated?

10 Which hugely popular song of the 1960s was inspired by a 17-year-old, Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinheiro, who would captivate bystanders during her daily strolls to the beach near the Veloso Café in Rio?


1 Madame Bovary, the eponymous character in Gustave Flaubert’s famous novel

2 Doctor Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s creation

3 Maurice Utrillo

4 Howard Hughes, on whom the film Aviator is based

5 Don Diego de la Vega, better known as Zorro

6 Harry Callahan or Dirty Harry, played by Clint Eastwood

7 American Gothic

8 Paul Gachet, immortalised in ‘A Portrait of Dr Gachet’

9 The Civil Rights Movement — more specifically the desegregation of American schools. It depicts Ruby Bridges, an African- American schoolgirl, being escorted to attend an all-white public school in 1960

10 The Girl From Ipanema


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster; Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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