Another Year Another Leonardo da Vinci Drawing Discovered

Mona Lisa sketch Leonardo Da Vinci

“It is almost certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting.”

A nude drawing in charcoal which is part of a prominent art collection in France may be a study for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. A French art expert has stated that the work purchased over 150 years ago could be the master’s hand and not a student as thought. “It is almost certainly a preparatory work for an oil painting.” Louvre conservation expert Bruno Mottin confirmed it dated from Leonardo’s lifetime, at the start of the 16th Century, and was of a “very high quality”.

The portrait depicts a nude woman, known as the Monna Vanna which was previously attributed only to Leonardo da Vinci’s studio. But experts now have found enough proof to suggest the artist worked on this important sketch.

Tests at the Louvre Museum in Paris have led curators to believe the charcoal is “at least in part” by Leonardo. It has been held in the collection of Renaissance art at the Conde Museum at the Palace of Chantilly, north of the French capital, since 1862.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is considered to be the greatest painter of the Italian Renaissance along with the younger Michelangelo and his student Raphael. His masterpiece the Mona Lisa (also referred to as La Gioconda) is one of the world’s most recognisable treasures. It was commissioned by the wealthy cloth merchant, Florentine official Francesco del Giocondo, to depict his wife, Lisa Gherardini.

It has been less than a year since Tajan auction house in Paris uncovered a long lost drawing by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. The discovery was made summer 2016 and it took months of painstaking research by three experts including one of the curators at the Metropolitan Museum in New York to authenticate. Tajan valued the work at 15 million euros, or about $15.8 million. The French government put a temporary export bar on the uncovered double-sided drawing by da Vinci. Officials declared the masterpiece “a national treasure”.