Art sleuths believe long-lost Da Vinci found

Art sleuths believe they have found traces of a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece on a hidden wall in a palace in Florence that has not been seen in over four centuries.

The traces were collected using tiny probes introduced into a wall covering the original surface in a lavish hall in the Palazzo Vecchio and contained a black pigment also used in the Mona Lisa, historians and officials said.

The research is the result of a decades-long quest by San Diego University art history professor Maurizio Seracini, who was featured in Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code, and used cutting-edge technology in the project.

“The composition of manganese and iron found in the black pigment has been identified exclusively on Leonardo’s paintings,” Seracini, told reporters in the Italian city.

Seracini pointed out that Leonardo had painted the Mona Lisa at around the same time as the long-lost fresco, The Battle of Anghiari, but said the research was “not conclusive” and would have to be continued. “Although we are still in the preliminary stages of the research and there is still a lot of work to be done to solve this mystery, the evidence does suggest that we are searching in the right place.”

International art world scholars last year signed a petition complaining that the search was nothing more than a “Dan Brown -style” publicity stunt.


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