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Newly Attributed Leonardo Da Vinci Painting? Don’t hold your breath – UPDATED

August 5, 2012

Is this an unfinished painting by Leonardo Da Vinci?

This has been quite the summer for the discovery of long lost or hidden-in-plain-sight Old Masters.  First, a bumper crop of Caravaggio paintings, drawings or both appears in Milan, now the Scotland on Sunday has this mildly entertaining story about a painting claimed by its owner to be by Leonardo Da Vinci. Fiona McLaren has authored a new book Da Vinci’s Last Commission: The Most Sensational Detective Story In The History Of Art  that alleges, “after embarking on a painstaking analysis of the portrait, [McLaren] now believes it to be a final, unfinished painting by the Italian Old Master.”

It gets better:

According to McLaren, the painting also contains clues indicating that Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code was actually based on historical truth not just the inventive fiction that Jesus Christ had a love affair with Mary Magdalene and their relationship produced children.

She argues that the painting was commissioned by King Francis I of France and is not a painting of the Madonna and Child but of Mary Magdalene cradling either Jesus as an ­infant or Jesus’s own child.

The painting, she adds, is “one commissioned by King Francis I of France of his court painter; Leonardo da Vinci. What was the commission; to embody their shared philosophical belief in the sacred union and bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Can it be taken seriously? Undoubtedly so as you will see by its investigation but also as subscribed to by a rare Papal Bull being attached to the back of it, one issued by Pope Paul V in the early 17th century. This attachment would imply that this painting was once owned by Pope Paul V.”

All I can say is, good luck Ms. McLaren.


The Daily Mail has published a more extensive accounting of the alleged Leonardo accompanied by these images:

Indications of a da Vinci: 1. A similarity between the boy and child in his famous piece Madonna of the Rocks, 2. A distinctive ‘v’ shape in the middle of the woman’s hairline reminiscent of that shown in the last supper, 3. The fleur-de-lys is often said to be a hidden emblem of the secretive Priory of Sion, 4. The area by the woman’s shoulder is unfinished, common in da Vinci works, 5. A tracing of the figure in the Last Supper matches exactly the outline of the woman in this painting, 6. The baby’s second toe is longer than the big toe – another classic da Vinci feature.

Old document: On the back of the 500-year-old painting is a document which is believed to be a papal bull – order of the Catholic Church. On it the word ‘Magdalene’ can be seen.

As noted above: All I can say is, good luck Ms. McLaren.

I remain unconvinced.


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