Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lost in Florence

The Exchange - Lost in Florence

I consider this to be a fascinating case.

First of all I consider Leonardo to be one of the very most brilliant men to have ever lived, and he is in fact one of my Secular Saints. He is also the individual that I have most tried to model my own Renaissance ambitions and capabilities upon, at least as far as my artistic and scientific capacities.

Additionally I am constantly fascinated by his immense range of both scientific and artistic achievements.

Finally as many of you know I love a good mystery and an engaging bit of detective work or an investigative enigma.

So this interests me all the way around.

Hunt for Lost Da Vinci Painting

ROME (AP) - January 15, 2007 - A real-life Da Vinci mystery, complete with tantalizing clues and sharp art sleuths, may soon be solved, as researchers resume the search for a lost Leonardo masterpiece believed to be hidden within a wall in a Florence palace.

Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli and officials in the Tuscan city announced this week they had given approval for renewed exploration in the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of power for various Florence rulers, including the Medici family in the 16th century. There, some researchers believe, a cavity in a wall may have preserved Leonardo's unfinished painted mural of the "Battle of Anghiari" for more than four centuries.

"We took this decision to verify conclusively if the cavity exists and if there are traces of the fresco," Rutelli said during a visit in Florence.

The search for the Renaissance masterpiece began about 30 years ago, when the art researcher Maurizio Seracini noticed a cryptic message painted on one of the frescoes decorating the "Hall of the 500."

"Cerca, trova" - "seek and you shall find" - said the words on a tiny green flag in the "Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley," one of the military scenes painted by the 16th-century artist Giorgio Vasari.

Between 2002 and 2003, radar and X-ray scans allowed Seracini and his team to find a cavity behind the fresco that is the right size to cocoon Leonardo's work, which was long thought to have been destroyed when Vasari renovated the hall in the mid-16th century.
Shortly after the initial discovery, Seracini's decades-long quest came to a standstill when authorities refused to renew his survey permit.

"We are not talking about a search like any other," Seracini told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "We are searching for Leonardo's greatest masterpiece, considered as such also by his contemporaries."

Leonardo began working on the "Battle of Anghiari" in 1505, when he was 53. He worked alongside fellow artist and rival Michelangelo, who had been commissioned to decorate the opposite wall of the council hall, which was to have scenes of the Florentine republic's military triumphs.

The pairing of two great artists created ripples of excitement in art-loving Florence, but both men soon left for other cities.



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