Could the lovely lady at right be a work by Leonardo da Vinci? Antiques Trade Gazette has a fascinating piece
that speculates that this small (13" x 9") picture on vellum mounted on an oak board could be a long-lost da Vinci. The portrait, listed as "German, early 19th century" sold for $19,000 at Christie's New York in 1998 to art dealer Kate Ganz who sold it for around the same amount to art connoisseur Peter Silverman in 2007. But now Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of History of Art at Oxford University has said that the painting might belong to the Renaissance master. Evidence gathered using a "multispectral" camera from Lumière Technology of Paris has found a fingerprint near the top left of the work. The fingerprint may be similar to a print on Leonardo's St Jerome in the Vatican. A palm print left on the neck in the painting may also reflect da Vinci's hands-on approach to shading. Analysis also shows the drawing and hatching were done by a left-handed artist, which da Vinci was. The lady's hair and costume would be appropriate for the time period.
Professor Kemp believes the lady in the picture may be Bianca Sforza, daughter of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1452-1508), and his mistress Bernardina de Corradis and dates to around 1496 when she was 13 or 14. Peter Silverman, who had been an underbidder in the 1998 Christie's sale had mentioned the work to Dr. Nicholas Turner, formerly Keeper of Prints & Drawings at the British Museum. He directed Silverman to Professor Kemp who is a da Vinci specialist. The portrait hasn't been shown in public since its reattribution and Kemp has written a book about the subject which has not yet been published. The painting's new value should be around £100 million. It is set to go on display next March at a show called And There Was Light: The Masters of the Renaissance Seen in a New Light to be held in the Eriksbergshallen, Gothenburg, Sweden.