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Da Vinci Fingerprint Raises $19K Painting's Value to $150 Million

A 500-year-old fingerprint thought to be that of Leonardo da Vinci's has caused the potential value of a painting of a young woman to skyrocket:

Davinci "The 13-by-9-inch portrait, which is now being dubbed La Bella Principessa, is a delicate profile of a young aristocratic Milanese woman, drawn with pen, chalk and ink on an animal skin known as vellum. It was bought two years ago by an anonymous Swiss collector at the Ganz Gallery in New York for around $19,000. Experts now put the possible value of the artwork at upwards of $150 million. The potential fingerprint wasn't a total surprise to everyone, though. Alessandro Vezzosi, a noted Da Vinci scholar, stuck out his academic neck last year when he identified the portrait as one of the artist's in his 2008 book, Leonardo Infinito. He based his conclusion on artistic, stylistic and historic considerations. 'There is some embarrassment out there,' said Vezzosi, director of the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in the artist's hometown of Vinci, Italy. 'Just looking at it, you know it isn't German.'"

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  1. thank u so much andy fo having such wonderful site. to me it has a perfect mix of art, news, eye candy and fluff. some of my greatest passions in life are art, and architecture and i enjoyed this article on leonardo immensely. i personally don't think it is a leonardo, leonardo was beyond the dated full profile portraits of the mid quattrocento. u just have to look at his lady with an ermine, wich was painted 10 years b4 this supposed new painitng was executed, and and of course la gioconda to know this. to me this is as fake as the wooden crucifix attributed to the divine michelangelo. nevertheless this kind of dispute and controversy is the kind that i wish would b more in vogue, unlike the poinless banality of today's celebrety "culture".

    Posted by: juan | Oct 15, 2009 2:52:56 PM


  2. I am sure further research into the drawing's provenance will shed some more light on whether this is a real Leonardo or not. But obviously, the previous owner/s found it impotant enough to have kept it in what I discern to be as an almost pristine state. Also, the fingerprint on this one matched the one found on his St. Jerome in the Vatican. Even Nicholas Turner, the former curator of drawings for the Getty, deemed it authentic.

    Here's a link to an excellent essay by Henry Porter:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/10/15/793522/-A-previously-unknown-Da-Vinci,-La-Principessa,-is-found

    Posted by: badinging | Oct 15, 2009 3:40:45 PM


  3. It doesn't look like something da Vinci would create. It's too plain for him.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 15, 2009 4:21:58 PM


  4. Sorry to sound puritanical but:

    It's fascinating a painting would be valued at 150 million dollars, meaning somebody would be willing to pay that, possibly even insure it, yet heath-care is rationed and people even die because a procedure or drug is considered too expensive. Millions lose their jobs because someone (an accountant, bean-counter) decided their meager salaries and benefits were too costly.

    But box office seats for the Yankees, suites at the Four Seasons, 150 million dollar paintings, no problem.

    Posted by: John in Boston | Oct 15, 2009 10:48:34 PM


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