Friday, January 27, 2012

Leonardo's Lost Princess?

This week I saw a PBS documentary about a beautiful ink and chalk drawing that some believe could be a long lost work by Leonardo da Vinci. The work, now titled "La Bella Principessa" was rediscovered in 1988, and was assumed to be the work of a 19th century German artist. The hour long program laid out compelling arguments that this drawing may indeed be a long lost Leonardo including, the evident skill of the artist, location and carbon dating.

Not the least of these arguments was the fact that stroke angle is consistent with a drawing done by a left handed artist, which Leonardo also was. Notice how the pen strokes angle down toward the right, typical of a left handed artist. These same angled strokes are evident in the "princess".

Every artist leaves his unique hand print on their work and careful study can reveal stylistic tendencies that can be identified and tracked from painting to painting. Drawing style is one of these things that, like an individual's handwriting, can be matched and verified. The highly crafted nature of the work, the sensitivity to drawing and the delicate nature of the woman's features echo other Leonardo works as well. Though the documentary ended with no conclusive verdict on whether this is indeed a Leonardo, to my eye it appears to be such.

Read more on La Bella Principessa here.

1 comment:

Julia Kelly said...

I watched that too- never connect how little paintings of his have surveyed!