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Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the Hunt for Another Leonardo by Margot Justes

According to Yahoo news, there is another Leonardo Da Vinci fresco hidden in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Imagine that.

Centuries after his death, he still makes headlines. I try to keep up because in my vampire tale Blood Art the Mona Lisa plays a prominent and demonic role. How could I not be interested?

This story has a fresco hidden by another wall, and the original fresco is suspected to be a Da Vinci original.

Speculation abounds, but the general belief is that Leonardo started painting the "The Battle of Anghiari" around 1505, but there were issues with the paint and it was never finished. It is believed that Giorgio Vasari, another artist covered the Leonardo fresco with a wall to protect it and then painted his own fresco.

Chemical analysis, indicates the possibility that the fresco might actually exist. The data in not conclusive, but there is enough information to pursue it further.

The process in gaining the information was and continues to be intricate, and controversial because researchers had to drill six holes in the Vasari fresco to gain the chemical details needed to identify the Leonardo fresco.

The project is not without protest, art researchers feel that the Vasari fresco is being damaged, and that it "was nothing more than a Dan Brown Style publicity stunt."

However they were able to identify the composition of the black paint used 'exclusively' by Leonardo. To further enrich the story, the battle is said to have been painted at the same time as the Mona Lisa.

One other touch to the mystery is a message Vasari left on his fresco. "Cerca Trova" ("Seek and You Shall Find.")

We can agree or disagree on the process. Is it worth potentially destroying a master fresco to find another one, that may be beyond restoration, or may not even exist save for a few strokes of black pigment. Art historian are debating the very same thing.

In all the recent Leonardo speculations and potential new finds, centuries after his death he is still being discovered. A Renaissance man for all the ages.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
Hearts & Daggers
A Hotel in Paris

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