Forensic examination of a bronze statue in Limerick’s Hunt Museum has shown that a Leonardo da Vinci sculpture was cast hundreds of years after the great man’s death.
The Bronze Horse is a central part of the €60 million Hunt Museum collection handed over to the State by John and Gertrude Hunt.
The bronze piece, purchased by the Hunts in London in 1966 has turned out to belong to a more recent era, following a forensic examination of the metal when it was to go on exhibit in Washington.
Di Vinci made a number of bronze horse sculptures and the one bought by the Hunts in London in 1966 was believed to have been one.
A spokesperson for the Hunt Museum said; “It was purchased in good faith by the Hunts and this has come to light when it was to go to the Museum of Modern Art in Washington.”
The Hunt Collection has also received the support of President Mary McAleese.
The Hunt Museum is Limerick’s top tourist attraction with more than 25,000 visitors each year.
Historians from all over the world now visit the museum, regarded as one of the finest of its kind.