The Guardian has reported that a group of researchers working in Florence believe that they have found the lost Leonardo da Vinci mural The Battle of Anghiari hidden behind a mural by the artist and art historian Giorgio Vasari.
The search has been controversial as it has entailed drilling exploratory holes in the 1563 work by Vasari. The team, led by Maurizio Seracini, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego who has been working on the case for close to forty years after discovering a clue in the 1970s on the Vasari mural which stated “cerca trova,” or “seek and you shall find.” Intrigued, further studies with surface penetrating radar revealed a 3-4cm cavity behind the painting. Vasari wrote the definitive reference about Italian renaisssance painters and their techniques Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori (Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects) in 1550 and it was believed that he of all people would take great care to preserve a work by Leonardo da Vinci who was one of his heroes.
After much debate in the art political circles, Maurizio Seracini and his team received permission to drive six holes and now as data is coming in, they believe they have hit the jackpot. The Guardian writes,
A sample of black material removed from the back wall was analysed with a scanning electron microscope and was found to be similar to black pigment found by the Louvre in brown glazes on the Mona Lisa and the painting St John the Baptist, the team said.
The painting was believed to have been copied by Peter Paul Rubens in 1603 and this drawing currently hangs in the Louvre.
Leonardo’s Lost Mural The Battle of Anghiari Found?,