Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A “new” Leonardo da Vinci

A picture executed in chalk, pen and ink and previously known as Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress (33 x 23cm or 13 x 9in) has been identified as a work by Leonardo da Vinci, thanks to a fingerprint in the top left corner of the vellum.





Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, found the fingerprint when he examined the work using a multispectral camera. The fingerprint matches one on Leonardo’s St Jerome in the Vatican. Carbon-14 analysis of the vellum gave a date range of 1440-1650, consistent with an attribution to da Vinci.

Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford, has rechristened the picture, La Bella Principessa. He has identified the women as being Bianca Sforza, daughter of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1452-1508). He has written a book about the discovery (to be published)

Leonardo da Vinci is known for using his palm and finger to blend colours in his works.

Timothy Clifford, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland from 1984 to 2006, commented: “What is so exciting is that no drawings by Leonardo on parchment are known, although we do know from the Codex Atlanticus that Leonardo was interested in the technology of drawing, in colour, on vellum.”

In the paper version of his article “How I know the new portrait is by Leonardo”, he details “A six-point Leonardo test”, he also made an interesting point: “Leonardo, unlike any of his contemporaries, was left-handed and so shaded from the top left to the bottom right.” This somehow corroborates the conjecture I made in my previous article “The left-handed conjecture


Read the press articles

Unrecognised Leonardo da Vinci portrait revealed by his fingerprint by Ben Hoyle, Arts Correspondent

How I know the new portrait is by Leonardo by Timothy Clifford



Related blog articles

Leonardo da Vinci on judging your own work

Fingerprint your painting





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