At Large  November 24, 2020  Chandra Noyes

Expert Identifies New Da Vinci Drawing

COURTESY LEONARDO DA VINCI INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE

A newly discovered drawing is being attributed to Leonardo da Vinci by an Italian expert.

A leading expert on the works of Leonardo da Vinci thinks she has found a new drawing by the Renaissance master. The portrait, which was found by a collector in Lecco, Italy, shows a serene Christ. Annalisa Di Maria, who has worked with UNESCO’s Florence division, is still conducting her research into the drawing, which was brought to her by the collector for authentication. 

Di Maria described the work as “the true face of Salvator Mundi,” comparing it to the famous Da Vinci painting, which she does not believe to be authentic. Doubts about the authenticity of that work did not stop it from making waves around the world and eventually selling at Christie’s for a record-breaking $450.3 million.

Courtesy Christie's

The Salvator Mundi

A Saudi prince bought the painting to hang in the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. The painting has yet to appear there, leading some to call it “missing.” The Salvator Mundi was not included in the Paris Louvre’s massive Da Vinci exhibition celebrating the five-hundredth anniversary of his death. That is likely because the museum would have labeled the painting as being from the workshop of the master, rather than his alone, which would have decreased its value.

Like the Salvator Mundi, not all experts are in agreement about the newly discovered drawing. Di Maria believes it may be a preparatory sketch for the true Salvator Mundi, a work that remains lost.

wikimedia commons

Leonardo da Vinci, Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk, c. 1512. Detail.

The work certainly bears a striking resemblance to many other Da Vinci sketches and portraits, which are often in red chalk and show the sitter in three-quarters profile. Di Maria is still preparing her report, which will likely include information on the drawing’s materials and a possible date, details which have yet to be released. In the meantime, cautious excitement grows about the work and its implications for providing clues to the mysterious Salvator Mundi.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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