Art researchers and scientists said Monday that a high-tech project using tiny video probes has uncovered evidence that a fresco by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci lost for five centuries may still exist behind a wall of Florences city hall.
The project to find what has come to be known as the Lost Leonardo or Battle of Anghiari has been controversial,because researchers had to drill several holes into an existing work and because not all agree the fresco is still there. All traces of the original were lost when Giorgio Vasari renovated the great Sala dei Cinquecento in Florences Palazzo Vecchio and was ordered to paint a new fresco,The Battle of Marciano. Some believe that Vasari was loathe to destroy Leonardos work,so he built a new wall with an air gap of several centimetres to preserve what was left.
Researchers used tiny,medical-style endoscopic probes and inserted them in existing cracks in the outer wall holding the Vasari fresco for samples. We found traces of pigments that appear to have been used by Leonardo, said Maurizio Seracini,an expert in art diagnostics.