New da Vinci Painting Possibly Discovered

A fingerprint on it resembles one on Vatican art

By on October 13th, 2009 13:02 GMT
Scientists at a laboratory in Paris believe they may have discovered another one of Leonardo da Vinci's works, when they have assessed that a fingerprint retrieved from a painting is “remarkably similar” to another one, found on a Vatican art piece. The second painting has been directly tied to the Italian master, so we may be witnessing the discovery of another great work of art created by the famous scientist, artist and botanist. These words are too few to describe his personality, as he also dealt with mathematics, engineering, music and anatomy, among other things, the BBC News reports.

The painting on which the new fingerprint was found has been cataloged until now as “German, early 19th century,” and has changed owners (museums and private collectors) for around the sum of $19,000. According to new estimates, the painting may be worth tens of millions of dollars, when taken into account its age, how well it is preserved, and its author. The print was found by a forensics expert analyzing the painting, towards the top-left side of the image. According to his preliminary assessment, it may have come from the tip of the index or middle finger.

The painting also has numerous traits in common with the Portrait of a Woman in Profile, another work by da Vinci, currently kept in the Windsor Castle. This result was obtained after the recent discovery was analyzed in infrared wavelengths. The drawing and hatchings were also made by a left-handed artist, and Leonardo da Vinci is especially famous for working best with his left hand. According to Oxford University Emeritus Professor of History of Art Martin Kemp, who is a da Vinci scholar, the portrait may represent Bianca Sforza. The teenager was the daughter that Ludovico Sforza, duke of Milan, had with his mistress, Bernardina de Corradis.

The painting went into the hands of Canadian-born art expert Peter Silverman in 2007, and he immediately began to question whether there was more to it than met the eye. He also discussed his ideas with Dr. Nicholas Turner, who is the former British Museum keeper of prints and drawings, and came to the conclusion that the image needed to be looked at by an expert. The art work is scheduled to be shown again in an exhibition next year, in Sweden.
Leonardo da Vinci, self portrait, in red chalk
   Leonardo da Vinci, self portrait, in red chalk
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