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Archive for Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leonardo fingerprint reveals $150M artwork

October 15, 2009

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— Mona Lisa has something new to smile about.

A portrait of a young woman thought to be created by a 19th century German artist and sold two years ago for about $19,000 is now being attributed by art experts to Leonardo da Vinci and valued at more than $150 million.

The unsigned chalk, ink and pencil drawing, known as “La Bella Principessa,” was matched to Leonardo via a technique more suited to a crime lab than an art studio — a fingerprint and palm print found on the 13 1/2-inch-by-10-inch work.

Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, said the print of an index or middle finger matched a fingerprint found on Leonardo’s “St. Jerome” in the Vatican.

Technical, stylistic and material composition evidence — including carbon dating — had art experts believing as early as last year that they had found another work by the creator of the “Mona Lisa.”

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