An Oxford University professor says he has found conclusive proof that a portrait dismissed as a 19th Century forgery is a genuine Leonardo. Art history expert Martin Kemp says he has found a 15th Century book in Poland from which the piece was taken. The work, bought in 1998 for $21,850 (£14,000), could be worth millions. But the National Gallery, which will stage a Da Vinci exhibition in November, said there was “no general agreement” the work was by the artist.
Martin Kemp and fellow author Pascal Cotte published a book last year, La Bella Principessa: The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci, about the inks and coloured chalk on vellum portrait. It was sold as an early German 19th-Century work under the name Head of a Young Girl in Profile to the Left, at Christie’s New York in 1998.
Kemp and Cotte previously identified the teenager as Bianca Sforza, the daughter of Leonardo’s patron Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1452-1508), and his mistress Bernardina de Corradis. They also concluded that three stitch holes in the left margin of the work made it likely the portrait had previously been bound in a book.
via BBC News