Monday, October 12, 2009

Fingerprint uncovers a new Leonardo da Vinci portrait

THE ghost of a fingerprint in the top left corner of an obscure portrait appears to have confirmed one of the most extraordinary art discoveries.

The 33 x 23cm picture, in chalk, pen and ink, appeared at auction at Christie's, New York, in 1998, catalogued as "German school, early 19th century". It sold for $21,000.
experts agree that it is almost certainly by Leonardo da Vinci and worth about £100 million.
The fingerprint corresponds to the tip of the index or middle finger, and is "highly comparable" to one on Leonardo's St Jerome in the Vatican.
rechristened the picture, originally sold as Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress, as La Bella Principessa after identifying her
as Bianca Sforza, daughter of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1452-1508), and his mistress Bernardina de Corradis. He described the profile as "subtle to an inexpressible degree", as befits the artist best known for the Mona Lisa.
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