Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) has been dead for almost five hundred years. We know the Italian painter best for his painting of The Last Supper (1498) and the Mona Lisa (c1503-1507). His works are, quite literally, priceless.
Over the years, various artists and historians have recorded each work in lengthy studies and dissertations.
Experts believe that we’ve already accounted for each work by this legendary artist, and they’re all residing in some public art collection somewhere in the world.
If that’s true, why is it that Leonardo’s long-lost paintings keep surfacing? Are they real? How do we know for sure? Especially given the price tag of one of da Vinci’s rare works, which would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of tens of millions of dollars in U.S. money?
Leonardo da Vinci In The News
A recent discovery in a Swiss bank vault has da Vinci experts excited over the possibility that the find may well be a long lost portrait of Isabella d’Este, a Renaissance noblewoman. Art historians have debated whether or not this painting has even existed since da Vinci’s lifetime.
A sketch of the same person in a similar pose is in the Louvre in Paris. The only suggestion that a finished painting might exist is in correspondence from the d’Este family that indicated delight in seeing the sketch and asked da Vinci to do a complete painting of Isabella based on the sketch.
Art historians, not finding any evidence of the completed painting, concluded that da Vinci was too busy at the time completing his painting, The Battle of Anghiari (1503), followed by the famous Mona Lisa.
Isabella d’Este Portrait: Is It Genuine?
Genuine da Vinci works are very rare. He was a meticulous artist, often spending years on a single work. He was also frequently sidetracked from his art work by other creations. Da Vinci is now recognized as more than just an artist. He was a scientist, a mathematician, an engineer, an inventor, a musician, an anatomist, a geologist, a cartographer, a botanist and a writer. He was one of those people who possessed an unquenchable curiosity. Various people have re-created some of his drawings of inventions in more recent times to prove that da Vinci’s genius was well ahead of his time. It was no wonder that da Vinci found little time to paint and sculpt.
That, perhaps, explains why there are so few genuine da Vinci paintings. And, consequently, why it is so difficult to authenticate a work not previously known to the art world? So, how do the experts determine if the work if the real thing?