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$150 Million Leonardo da Vinci Painting Not Real?

Sep. 17th, 2010 | Comments 4 | Make a Comment   
Arts & Culture: Leonardo da Vinci's "La Bella Principessa" may not be the work of the renowned 15th century renaissance man. The painting, which is valued at $150 million, instead may be the work of 19th century German artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, according to Fred R. Klein, president of Klein Art Research Associates in Santa Fe, NM.

Mr. Klein is an independent art historian known for his various discoveries of lost art. Klein's finding of a drawing by Schnorr, "Half-Nude Female," in the collection of the State Art Museum in Mannheim, Germany, put his investigative process in motion. Klein claims that the Mannheim drawing depicts the identical young woman with related braided hair as the "Principessa."

In a statement from Klein, he indicated that most experts of da Vinci's drawings and numerous art historians lean toward "La Bella Principessa" not being the work of the distinct Leonardo. The questioning of whether it was an authentic da Vinci surfaced first more two years ago in an article from The New York Times. However, no artists previously were identified as possibly being the true artist until Klein came forward with his findings.

Among those who also reject that the "Principessa" is da Vinci's are Carmen Bambach of the Metropolitan Museum and Martin Clayton. Clayton is the curator of the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, which has the world's largest collection of drawings da Vinci drawings. Bambach is the leading expert on Leonardo's drawings.

Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, who lived from 1794-1872, is one of the relatively unknown Nazarene Brotherhood of German painters who worked in Rome and copied the styles and subjects of Italian Renaissance masters.

Klein previously has uncovered four unsigned drawings and one painting by other Nazarene artists in his investigative endeavors. Those drawings and collections are displayed in museum collections that include New York's Morgan Library and the Frances Lehman Loeb Museum at Vassar College.

"The Mannheim drawing depicts the identical young woman with related braided hair as the "Principessa," and it's drawn on the identical vellum as well. Vellum, or parchment, is an eccentric material for drawing, which Schnorr often used, and Leonardo never used. Two other Schnorr drawings on vellum are at Mannheim. The "Principessa" recreates the exact woman, idealized in the manner of a Renaissance engagement portrait - possibly a gift from Schnorr to a favorite model. The real question has always been "who really done it?" Well, here's the smoking gun, and Leonardo is not holding it."

Martin Kemp, the principal author of the recently released "La Bella Principessa: The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci," presents supportive forensic evidence along with his opinion that the painting is by da Vinci.

"Questionable connoisseurship all around," said Klein. "I have no vested interest here other than the pursuit of truth in art history and a longstanding desire to keep Leonardo's and other old masters' work free of fakes, bogus science, and substandard connoisseurship by people in positions of authority. In the case of "La Principessa," let's just say it's clearly an issue of mistaken identity."

Apparently, in this case, it is simpler to know what you like than it is to determine which should be attributable to whom.

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4 Comments on this Article

ARCHIL SHARTAVA commented on January 28, 2012

? Color of the hair and eyes is too light for an Italian, particularly for Sforza's daughter. The girl looks rather northern European (German) than Italian ? Neck is too thick for LDV proportions (check the overlay photos from here: http://www.3pipe.net/2011/07/enhancing-art-of-seeing-leonardo-case.html ? Lower eye lid looks wrong - horizontal part is too thick - looks unprofessional ? According to LDV theory advocates the carbon analysis puts the probability that the velum existed in the period of interval 1470-1530 is 27.2%. But "La Bella Principessa" died in 1496. That will bring this "probability" to less than 10% ? All noble women in the Renaissance portraits (by LDV and others) wear jewelry - not "Principessa" ? GC/MS and MS/MS analysis of the pigments (not velum) from "Bella" should be compared with the LDV's proven original pigments to be able to have any significant data for publication in scientific journal

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ARCHIL SHARTAVA commented on January 28, 2012

? Color of the hair and eyes is too light for an Italian, particularly for Sforza's daughter. The girl looks rather northern European (German) than Italian ? Neck is too thick for LDV proportions (check the overlay photos from here: http://www.3pipe.net/2011/07/enhancing-art-of-seeing-leonardo-case.html ? Lower eye lid looks wrong - horizontal part is too thick - looks unprofessional ? According to LDV theory advocates the carbon analysis puts the probability that the velum existed in the period of interval 1470-1530 is 27.2%. But "La Bella Principessa" died in 1496. That will bring this "probability" to less than 10% ? All noble women in the Renaissance portraits (by LDV and others) wear jewelry - not "Principessa" ? GC/MS and MS/MS analysis of the pigments (not velum) from "Bella" should be compared with the LDV's proven original pigments to be able to have any significant data for publication in scientific journal

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Fred R. Kline commented on November 9, 2010

First of all, Mr. Rothaar, it's KLINE. Mr. Sweeney, the fingerprint has been manufactured digitally by Peter Paul Biro, a well-know finger print con artist in Montreal who was exposed in a New Yorker article, July 12, 2010. He is supported by another digital con artist Pascal Cotte, a technician in Paris. The collusion is quite obvious. Professor Kemp is using his scholarly authority under a delusion supported by greed. The few Leonardo Ȯxperts" that support him are well-proven to be second-rate connoisseurs, as is Kemp. Get your facts straight and don't get carried off with loose, uninformed, blanket judgments. It's a beautiful drawing by Schnorr, not Leonardo.

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ben sweeney commented on September 17, 2010

If Kline is correct then how did the finger print of Leonardo get on the drawing in question? Kline has proven nothing accept he has an opinion. What is on display is Human Nature... the main point is whose finger print is on the drawing and how did it get there. Kline seems to believe that Martin Kemp is part of a terrible fraud as well as other famous Leonardo experts, that would be the control alt delete to all study of Leonardo. We would have to start over and question other paintings such as the Mona Lisa. If you would like see true objective research visit www.leonardoshands.com all the best, ben sweeney

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