Mystery German painting 'could be a £100m da Vinci'



2015-06-26 11:41:47

Mystery German painting 'could be a 100m da Vinci'

Price estimates for an anonymous artwork soar after a da Vinci fingerprint is discovered

A painting titled A Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress, which sold for $19,000 in 1998, appears to have Leonardo da Vinci's fingerprints all over it - quite literally.

A Paris laboratory has claimed thata print from an index or middle finger on the canvas is almost certainly da Vinci's.

The printclosely matches one fromda Vinci'spainting of St Jerome, currently held in the Vatican.The artistworked alone at the time, so the print is unlikely to be anyone else's.

It only becomes clear using infra-red scanning, but the printis inthe blemish on the left edge of the work, level with the subject's brow line.

Leonardo da Vinci's A Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress A Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress

The CSI-style evidence was collected by Peter Paul Biro, who is credited with pioneering various techniques for authenticating artworks.

He also notes a partial palm print in the painting's neck, a painting technique which Leonardo used.

The work is thought to bear some resemblance to da Vinci's ink and chalk drawing, Portrait of a Woman in Profile, currently held in Windsor Castle.

The mystery artist seems to have been left-handed, as was da Vinci.

Carbon dating also suggests the right age (1440-1650) for the work, rather than it being 19th century. The girl's clothes and hair are consistent with this.

Martin Kemp, Oxford University's Professor of the History of Art,feels sure that the portrait was by the great artist. Hehas even writtena 200 page book on the subject,yet to be published.

"All the bits fell into place like a well-made piece of furniture. All the drawers slotted in" Kemptold the Gazette.

The Paris laboratory's findings will also vindicate Pete Silverman, the painting's current owner.

Silverman has long suspected that the painting was in the style of a Florentine artist, and that the artist may have been Da Vinci.

Estimates for the piece now vary, but London dealer Simon Dickinson has suggested it could be worth 100m.

Photocredit: Silverman

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