Has long-lost Da Vinci mural been discovered?
There is evidence that Da Vinci's 'Battle of Anghiari' has been found underneath newer mural
Poking through a probe through cracks in a 16th-century fresco painted on the wall of one of Florence's most famous buildings has yielded what many think could be a long-lost mural by Leonardo Da Vinci. There is much excitement among scientists and art historians as to what may be Da Vinci's "Battle of Anghiari."
The "Battle of Anghiari" was a wall mural painted by Leonardo Da Vinci in Florence's storied Palazzo Vecchio. It was long thought to have been hidden behind another fresco.
Elusive and tantalizing, the hunt for the mural took on fresh impetus in the last years with the employment of state-of-art scientific tools.
Da Vinci's mural was begun in 1505 to commemorate the 15th-century victory by Florence over Milan at the medieval Tuscan town of Anghiari. Researchers now think it may be hidden behind a newer wall, which was frescoed over decades later by Giorgio Vasari. "Battle of Anghiari" was unfinished when the artist left Florence in 1506.
Maurizio Seracini, an Italian engineer from the University of San Diego says that the fragments of color retrieved by the probe in the palace's Hall of the 1500s are consistent with the pigments used by Da Vinci.
Seracini said an analysis showed that the red, black and beige paint found is consistent with the organic paint Da Vinci used on his frescoes.
However -- the paint could also have been used by Da Vinci's contemporaries in Florence, which is awash in Renaissance art. Seracini have called the results "encouraging" but preliminary.
In order to find samples of pigment of the wall behind a space previously discovered under the Vasari, experts slipped probes through areas where paint on the outer wall's fresco was either cracked or flaked off.
For one sample, a probe was slipped into a spot near a downward thrusting sword in Vasari's work. For another sample, the probe went through a point near the head of a horse, with its eye open wide as if startled.
Vasari left a tantalizing clue that spurred interest. Seracini was inspired by the word's Cerca, trova ("Seek and you shall find") which were painted on a tiny flag in Vasari's painting depicting a different battle.
There is some historical evidence to back this claim. Those who think Da Vinci's work might be hidden behind the later wall painting contend it is unlikely that Vasari, famed for his biographies of Renaissance artists, would have destroyed any masterpiece by Da Vinci.
"We have found these very special black pigments, and there are some traces of red," Seracini says. The red is a kind of lacquer "used for oil painting. And this element matches Da Vinci's plan to paint his 'Battle of Anghiari' with an oil technique", Seracini contended.
Seracini also note that some black material found behind Vasari's wall shows a chemical composition similar found in brown glazes in two Da Vinci works, "Mona Lisa" and "St John the Baptist."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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