Leonardo Da Vinci Self Portrait Found?
Rome, February 27 - An Italian science journalist and television presenter said Friday he may have discovered a self-portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci as a young man in Da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds.
Piero Angela said he was flipping through a copy of the short manuscript written by Leonardo between 1490 and 1505 when he saw the drawing. ''I noticed that there was a drawing by Leonardo hidden between the words on the tenth page of his codex,'' he said.'' After extrapolating the red-chalk portrait with the help a graphic artist, a portrait of a Renaissance man emerged. Given the similarity, I thought that this could well be Leonardo himself''.
Angela said he compared the drawing with other portraits of Leonardo, and principally with Leonardo's famous self portrait of c. 1512-15, asking for help from a scientific investigation bureau in Rome.''The graphic artist then applied digital techniques used to age people or make them look younger, and astonishingly we found as amazing similarity - it was as if the two were brothers,'' he said. ''We also asked for the opinion of a maxillofacial surgeon, who said the two faces could well belong to the same many at different times in his life''.
Angela said the discovery ''had many exclamation marks, but very many question marks'', adding that it had not yet been possible to date the drawing. ''Thanks to other drawings present in the eight central pages of this codex, we think that Leonardo worked on these leaves between 1482 and 1489, when he was in Milan at the court of Ludovico Sforza. Then these pages were 'recycled' by the painter to write his codex''.
He stressed that the opinion of experts was still needed but said scholars to whom he had shown the drawing had told him it was an ''important discovery''. Angela will present his discovery on Saturday evening during a prime-time docu-entertainment show covering both history and science presented by his son Alberto and televised by state broadcaster RAI.
Earlier this month, a 16th-century portrait of Leonardo came to light in a hill town in Basilicata, southern Italy when a medieval historian was browsing through the collection of an aristocratic family. The oil painting shows Da Vinci in three-quarter profile and wearing a hat. Experts are investigating whether the painting could be by Cristofano dell'Altissimo, who painted another Da Vinci portrait in a similar style in the Uffizi in Florence, but have not yet ruled out the possibility that it too could be a self-portrait.
For more on Leonardo Da Vinci visit the exhibit Machines of Leonardo Da Vinci in Rome.