Lost da Vinci mural may have been discovered

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Lost da Vinci mural may have been discovered

FLORENCE, Italy - Researchers may have discovered traces of a lost mural by Leonardo da Vinci by poking a probe through cracks in a 16th-century fresco painted on the wall of one of Florence’s most famous buildings.

The latest findings Monday still leave much mystery in the hunt for the “Battle of Anghiari,” a wall mural painted by Leonardo in Florence’s storied Palazzo Vecchio, and possibly hidden behind a fresco done by Giorgio Vasari decades later.

The hunt for the unfinished mural has captivated art historians for centuries and took on fresh impetus in the last years with the employment of state-of-the-art scientific tools.

Some believe Leonardo’s mural, which he began in 1505 to commemorate the 15th-century victory by Florence over Milan at the medieval Tuscan town of Anghiari, may be hidden behind a newer wall, which was frescoed over decades later by Giorgio Vasari.

Leonardo’s “Battle of Anghiari” was unfinished when Leonardo left Florence in 1506.

Maurizio Seracini, an Italian engineer from the University of California, San Diego, told reporters that the fragments of color retrieved by the probe in the palace’s Hall of the 1500s are consistent with pigments used by Leonardo.

But the paint could also have been used by Leonardo’s contemporaries in Florence, which is awash in Renaissance art. Seracini called the results “encouraging” but preliminary.

To find samples of pigment of the wall behind a space previously discovered under the Vasari work, experts slipped probes through areas where paint on the outer wall’s fresco was either cracked or flaked off, noted Cristina Acidini, the head of Florence’s cultural heritage and museums.

For one sample, a probe was slipped into a spot near a downward thrusting sword in Vasari’s work.

AP
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