|Leonardo Fingerprint Reveals Painting May be Worth $150 Million|
This undated photo provided Wednesday Oct. 14, 2009 by Lumiere Technology in Paris shows a fingerprint on a painting that art experts believe they have identified as a new Leonardo da Vinci. Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, said Tuesday that a fingerprint on what was presumed to be a 19th-century German painting of a young woman has convinced art experts that it's actually a da Vinci. AP Photo/HO/Lumiere Technology.com
By: Rob Gillies, Associated Press Writer
TORONTO, CA (AP).- Mona Lisa has something new to smile about.
A portrait of a young woman thought to be created by a 19th century German artist and sold two years ago for about $19,000 is now being attributed by art experts to Leonardo da Vinci and valued at more than $150 million.
The unsigned chalk, ink and pencil drawing, known as "La Bella Principessa," was matched to Leonardo via a technique more suited to a crime lab than an art studio a fingerprint and palm print found on the 13½-inch-by-10-inch work.
Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, said the print of an index or middle finger matched a fingerprint found on Leonardo's "St. Jerome" in the Vatican.
Technical, stylistic and material composition evidence including carbon dating had art experts believing as early as last year that they had found another work by the creator of the "Mona Lisa."
The discovery of the fingerprint has them convinced the work was by Leonardo, whose myth and mystery already put him at the center of such best-sellers as "The Da Vinci Code" and "The Lost Symbol."
Biro examined multispectral images of the drawing taken by the Lumiere Technology laboratory in Paris, which used a special digital scanner to show successive layers of the work.
"Leonardo used his hands liberally and frequently as part of his painting technique. His fingerprints are found on many of his works," Biro said. "I was able to make use of multispectral images to make a little smudge a very readable fingerprint."
Alessandro Vezzosi, director of a museum dedicated to Leonardo in the artist's hometown of Vinci, Italy, said Wednesday he was "very happy" to hear about the fingerprint analysis, saying it confirmed his own conclusion that the portrait can be attributed to Leonardo with "reasonable certainty."
"For me, it's extraordinary there is confirmation" through the fingerprint, although "it's not like I had any doubt," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Even before the fingerprint discovery, Vezzosi said several experts agreed with his conclusion, which was based on "historical, artistic, stylistic (and) aesthetic" considerations.
Based on its style, the portrait has been dated to 1485-1490, placing it at a time when Leonardo (1452-1519) was living in Milan.
Canadian-born art collector Peter Silverman bought "La Bella Principessa" or "The Beautiful Princess" at the gallery in New York on behalf of an anonymous Swiss collector in 2007 for about $19,000. New York art dealer Kate Ganz had owned it for about nine years after buying it at auction for a similar price.
One London art dealer now says it could be worth more than $150 million.
If experts are correct, it will be the first major work by Leonardo to be identified in 100 years.
Ganz still doesn't believe it is a Leonardo.
"Nothing that I have seen or read in the past two years has changed my mind. I do not believe that this drawing is by Leonardo da Vinci," Ganz told the AP on Wednesday. She declined to comment further.
Silverman said he didn't expect Ganz to acknowledge it's a Leonardo because that would damage her credibility, adding that if she wants to "go against science and say the Earth is not round," then that's her prerogative.
"Thank God, we have the fingerprint because there will still be those doubting Thomases out there saying it couldn't possibly be and giving all sorts of reasons for it. We not only have a fingerprint, but a palm print."
He said the palm print was found in the neck of the portrait's subject, who is believed to be the daughter of a 15th century Milanese duke.
Biro said the two main ideas to emerge from the news are the discovery of "an important lost work by Leonardo," and how "science, technology, scholars and art historians are learning to work together to solve these incredibly complex puzzles."
Silverman said the Swiss collector first raised suspicions about the drawing, saying it didn't look like 19th century artwork. When Silverman saw it at the Ganz gallery in 2007, he thought it might be a Leonardo, although the idea seemed far-fetched. He hurriedly bought it for his Swiss friend and then started researching it.
"Of course, you say, 'Come on, that's ridiculous. There's no such thing as a da Vinci floating around,'" Silverman said. "I started looking in the areas around da Vinci and all the people who could have possibly done it and through elimination I came back to da Vinci."
Last year, Silverman asked Nicholas Turner, a former curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Museum. Turner said it was a Leonardo.
Silverman described the Swiss collector as a very rich man who has promised to buy him "lunch and dinner and caviar for the rest of my life if it ever does get sold."
Vezzosi said the portrait seemed to be of a prospective bride and compared its purpose to today's photos of clients of Internet matchmaking agencies.
As for the possibility of finding other Leonardo works, "there are thousands of lost works of Leonardo, mainly pages from codexes or drawings," Vezzosi said, but discovering a lost or undocumented painting would be "much more difficult."
Associated Press writer Frances D'Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
October 15, 2009
Frieze Art Fair: Magnet for the Art World's Most Important Players Opens in London
First Major Exhibition of Works by Edward Hopper Opens at Palazzo Reale in Milan
Christie's to Unveil Major Works by Basquiat, Doig and Warhol
Leonardo Fingerprint Reveals Painting May be Worth $150 Million
Taubman Museum of Art Awarded 2009 International Architecture Award
Seattle Art Museum Exhibition Traces 50 Years of Alexander Calder's Career
Museum Honors the Life and Work of Its Co-Founder, Serge Sabarsky
London Three-Month Art Project that Put People on Plinth Ends
Tate Modern Replaces Nude Image of 10-Year-Old Brooke Shields
First Time Kunsthalle Wurth Shows All Paintings by Max Ernst in Its Collection
Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed at the National Portrait Gallery
Discover a New Face of Contemporary Art Using Glass as a Medium
Historic Judaica from West Country Set to Make 60,000 Pounds at Bonhams
MCA Presents First Solo Exhibition in Australia of Danish-Icelandic Artist Olafur Eliasson
Scope Art Fair/Perpetual Art Machine's Lee Wells Joins Judging Panel
Museum Acquires Monumental Early Renaissance Horse and Man Armors
William Smith Pledges Second Major Gift to Detroit Institute of Arts
Smithsonian Plans to Open Human Evolution Hall
First Solo Exhibition in a Major European Institution for Jim Hodges
New Amon Carter Museum Galleries, Web Site Spotlight Remington and Russell
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Ancient erotic frescoes get makeover at the Contemporary Art Museum in Casoria
2.- One million dollar Pablo Picasso painting yours for just $135 in online charity raffle
3.- Robert L. Oswald, Brother of Lee Harvey Oswald Disputes Last Week's Sale of Coffin
4.- Australian psychedelic artist Martin Sharp, who designed posters for Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, dies
5.- Skull find shows young women were sacrificed in China more than 4,000 years ago
6.- Istanbul monastery, considered the most important of Constantinople, 'to be turned into mosque'
7.- Detroit Institute of Arts statement regarding City of Detroit's eligibility to file for bankruptcy
8.- Christie's sets a new world auction record for a painting by Edward Hopper
9.- Ryan O'Neal defends taking ex-lover's Warhol picture in University of Texas lawsuit
10.- French film and installation artist Laure Prouvost wins Great Britain's Turner prize
Fragment of Manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci Unearthed in French Town Library
Italian Scientists Believe Leonardo da Vinci Painted Himself as "Mona Lisa"
Leonardo's "Angel in the Flesh" to Make Appearance with Work by Bill Viola
Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit Opens in Times Square
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|