Clues to lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece found in Florence

Mar 13, 2012


The “Salone dei Cinquecento”, in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Credit: Photo by Eusebius@Commons via Flickr Creative Commons

How many long-lost art masterpieces have been painted over or hidden from view?

UC San Diego researchers in Florence, Italy announced Monday they’ve found clues to the fate of Leonardo da Vinci’s lost “The Battle of Anghiari,” which the famous Renaissance artist painted in the early 1500s.

Researchers took samples from a stone wall hidden behind a fresco decorating the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. They found a black pigment similar to one used in da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” and also a brushed on red substance and beige material consistent with the presence of a painting, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Experts had previously believed the painting was destroyed decades after it was abandoned, unfinished, by da Vinci, who had been commissioned to decorate the hall, since fellow artist Giorgio Vasari had painted over it. Researchers used imaging technologies such as ultrasound and ultraviolet to virtually strip the wall and look at potential points for the original painting.


How difficult do you think the process is of uncovering and searching for centuries-old masterpieces?


David Scott, art history professor at UCLA, who also teaches art conservation, including investigation into Renaissance works

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