| Wednesday, June 22, 2005
| UNLOCKING A REAL DA VINCI CODE
|Researchers believe long lost painting hidden inside wall.
ROME-- "Cerca, trova" -- seek and you shall find -- says a tantalizing five century old message painted on a fresco in the council hall of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.
Researchers now believe these words could be a clue to the location of a long lost Leonardo da Vinci painting and are pressing authorities to allow them to search for the Renaissance masterpiece.
Maurizio Seracicin, an Italian art resercher, first noticed the message during a survey of the hall 30 years ago, but his teams lacked the technology then to see what lay behind Giorgio Vasari's 16th century fresco. "Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley".
However, radar and X-ray scans conducted between 2002 and 2003 have detected a cavity behind the section of the wall the message was painted on, which Seracini believes may conceal da Vinci's unfinished mural painting, "Battle of Anghiari".
Considered one of da Vinci's greatest works, the mural is known today through the master's preparatory studies and copies made by others.
"At the time, this was considered the masterpiece of masterpieces", Seracini said. Recovering it "would be like discovering a new Mona Lisa or a new Last Supper".
Da Vinci's mural was thought to have been destroyed in the mid 16th century when artist, writer and architect Vasari renovated the hall that once served as Florence's seat of power. He then covered the walls with hisown paintings.
'At a standstill'
Da Vinci began working on "Battle of Anghiari" in June 1505, when he was 53. He worked alongside rival Michaelangelo, who has been commissioned to decorate the opposite wall with scenes fo the Florentine republic's military triumphs.
Michaelangelo never went beyond his preparatory work, and da Vinci later abandoned the work. Some chroniclers of the time said the artist had expriemented with unstable paints that had rapidly degraded, leaving the painting irreparably damaged.
"For generations these stories have held us back, but there are documents that say otherwise", Seracini said. "Maybe other parts were damaged, but we know that 60 years later, when Vasari began his works, the painting was still visible and people still came to marvel at it".
Seracini, whose research on another da Vinci painting is quoted in Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code", is an engineer who has spent the last three decades conducting scientifici investigations on art treasures. He said he would like to continue his search for "Battler of Angjiari", but authorities in Florence hae denied him a permit.
"For months now we have been at a standstill and since all this is paid for by a private company, at no cost to the municipality, it's difficult for me to understand the reason for this behavior," he said.
Chiara Silla, director of the Palazzo Vecchio museum, said Seracini has yet to present a destailed report of his survey.
"Seracini's is a work in progress that is difficult to evaluate." Sill said. "For the last two years we have been waiting for technical and scientific documentations to decide together whether to continue or not".
(abstracted from the Associated Press by: Ariel David)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 4:16 AM