did he or not? Scientists have long suspected a painting by Leonardo da Vinci behind a wall in Florence’s town hall. But now an investigation has come to a sobering result.
A centuries-old art-historical hunt for a Leonardo da Vinci painting was ended by a group of art historians on Wednesday: They concluded that the Renaissance genius never painted the legendary “Battle of Anghiari”. “Leonardo never painted that fight on that wall, that’s a conclusion,” Francesca Fiorani, an art historian from the University of Virginia, told a conference at the Uffizi in Florence.
The work, which celebrates the victory of the Florentine Republic over the Milanese in the 15th century, has long been suspected behind a wall in Florence’s town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio. Fiorani presented a new scientific publication on the controversy surrounding the Battle of Anghiari, to which she contributed along with several other international experts.
Previous research refuted
These experts believe they have definitively refuted the theories of Italian researcher Maurizio Seracini, who made headlines in 2012 when he announced a breakthrough in the search for da Vinci’s lost work. Seracini drilled small holes through another fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio and said he found a wall behind it with traces of black pigment, similar to the one found on Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa”.
However, according to Fiorani, Leonardo had only started making preparatory drawings for the large-format mural that he ordered at the beginning of the 16th century. There are records of materials made available to the painter in connection with the work, but “those materials were not materials to paint the battle, but to prepare the wall (for painting),” she said. “The wall preparation didn’t go well, and that’s how it all ended.”