2019 marks the Quincentenary of the death of the Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci and the spotlight turns on a largely unknown work that has been hidden away since 1975. "Portrait of a Lady with a Fur", which belongs at present to a family in Germany, is believed to have been painted by the Maestro while he was in Milan between 1495 and 1499.
The painting, in oil on a poplar wood base, contains many elements that recall the Mona Lisa: the half-profile pose is the same, as well as the position of the hands and the background landscape. It is, however, more luminous, due to the use of an experimental white base, according to Silvano Vinceti, president of the National Committee for the Valorisation of Historic, Cultural and Environmental Heritage, who is actively engaged in promoting the work with view to having it exhibited in Italy for the Leonardo celebrations.
"Portrait of a Lady with a Fur" has had a succession of owners, including Pope Innocent XII and the Bishop of Strongoli (later Bishop of Otranto), before eventually passing into the hands of a family of West German industrialists in 1921. The present owners, also resident in Germany, purchased the work in 1975. Although the work has been officially authenticated by a number of leading Leonardo experts, such as art historian Adolfo Venturi and, more recently, Prof. Carlo Pedretti (considered the maximum expert on Leonardo today), the painting has never been shown publically and is at present only available in photographic form.
Despite a copious dossier of favourable opinions, the fact that the work has not been subjected to modern scientific tests continues to cast some doubts on its attribution to Leonardo, doubts that will not be dispelled as long as the owners choose to keep it secreted away. The Leonardo Quincentenary might prove to be the perfect occasion to bring it finally out into the light of day.
Info: Tel: +39.06.99700634 firstname.lastname@example.org