Okay, $21,000 isn’t a pittance to most people, but in the realm of works by Leonardo da Vinci, it’s a pretty damn impressively low number.
If you’re not up on Renaissance artists and their impact, da Vinci really was the quintessential “Renaissance man.” Da Vinci dabbled in many fields and impressively so, making gains for the time across several subjects and achieving notable success as a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. Approached in impact only by his contemporary Michelangelo Buonarroti- the man behind the popular Renaissance sculptures David and the Pieta– da Vinci’s works like the Last Supper, the Mona Lisa and sketches like the Vitruvian Man are considered priceless pieces of history, identifiable visually to most of the Western world.
Which is why news that a forgotten, lost da Vinci piece selling for slightly less than the worth of a Kia Sorrento is somewhat stunning. It seems the painting in question came from a five centuries old book of family history belonging to the Duke of Milan, and that the painting was a wedding commission featuring the Duke’s daughter. Art historian Martin Kemp of the University of Oxford talked about how the work was identified and pieced together:
“We knew it came from a book, you have the stitch holes and can see the knife cut. Finding it is a miracle in a way. I was amazed… When doing historical research on 500-year-old objects … you hardly get the circle completed in this way.”
And while not all Art historians are in agreement as to the origins of the piece, Kemp stands by his earlier identification and says that the match is the closest anyone can hope for with a piece of that age:
“It was apparent from the evidence we got about the vellum and the missing sheets, within reasonable margins of doubt, that’s where it comes from,” Kemp said. “At 500 years old, you never have as much confirmation as you like, but this is as good as it gets.”
Do you think a da Vinci could have gone unnoticed for so long?