Discovery is made in quest for "lost" Leonardo masterpiece
Experts searching for a long-missing Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece said Monday they have made a breakthrough by detecting traces of paint similar to that found on the Mona Lisa on a hidden wall in a Florentine palace, DPA reported.
"There is still much work to be done, but this evidence shows we are looking in the right place," the project's chief researcher, Maurizio Seracini, told the ANSA news agency.
The whereabouts of Leonardo Da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari, a large mural celebrating the 16th century victory of the Florentine Republic over the Milanese, has remained a mystery for around 500 years.
Seracini and other experts believe that the four-by-six-and-a-half-metre mural is hidden behind a wall in the Salone dei Cinquecento of Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.
High-tech instruments, including a micro gamma ray camera, were used late last year to identify black, orange, red and beige pigments on the wall.
The results show that the chemical composition of the black pigment - mainly manganese, but also iron - is compatible with that of the Mona Lisa and another Leonardo painting housed in Paris' Louvre museum, St John the Baptist, ANSA reported.
According to some researchers, the Battle of Anghiari was walled up in 1563 when Florence was then ruled by the Medici family, allies of the Milanese.
The Medicis commissioned Giorgio Vasari, a painter and architect, to renovate the Palazzo Vecchio hall and paint new murals celebrating their exploits.
While the Medicis' would have preferred the permanent removal of the Battle of Anghiari, the researchers contend that Vasari, a Da Vinci admirer, just hid it from view.