Real-life da Vinci hunt

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A biomedical engineer with a U.S. degree and a passion for art conservation, Seracini began looking for the painting, sometimes known as "The Lost Leonardo," in 1975.

Exploring inch by inch the huge Vasari mural he thinks might be hiding Leonardo's fresco, Seracini noticed an inscription, almost invisible from the floor, on a tiny green flag.

"Cerca Trova" -- "Seek and You Shall Find," says the cryptic message, the only writing in any of the six battle scenes decorating the Hall of the 500.

"It puzzled me then and it still puzzles me now. It could be an army motto. Or maybe it doesn't mean anything. But maybe it's a hint," Seracini said.
A very interesting article...
http://today.reuters.com/news/artic..._01_L30439620_RTRUKOC_0_US-ITALY-LEONARDO.xml
 

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What that article doesn't mention is that the painting of this battle was the occasion of a direct battle between da Vinci and none other than Michelangelo who had been commissioned to paint a battle scene on another wall of the same room at the same time.

Both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti lived in Florence at the beginning of the 16th century, and between 1504 and 1505 they would have to work side by side in the Palazzo after life Gonfalonier, Pier Soderini had commissioned them to carry out two large paintings of the Battle of Anghiari and the Battle of Cascina in the Maggior Consiglio - now called the Salone dei Cinquecento. However, Michelangelo never transferred his preparatory cartoon rich in ignudi of the Battle of Cascina onto the wall, and Leonardo had to abandon the group of horses and horsemen of the Battle of Anghiari that he had begun due to the deterioration of the colours.
Michelangelo completed a main "cartoon" for the battle which was publically displayed, as was Leonardo's, and there was much public debate over whose was best. Both cartoons are gone but detail sketches for both cartoons still exist:

By Leonardo:
[PLAIN]http://www.metmuseum.org/special/Leonardo_Master_Draftsman/art/leo_intro.jpg[/PLAIN] [Broken]

By Michelangelo:
[Img][URL]http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/475/PC/SuperStock_475-2138.jpg[/URL]

The Battle of Anghiari began as Leonardo's contender in the Renaissance art version of the world heavyweight championship. In the opposite corner was the one artist who might possibly match him: Michelangelo. The pair, who shared a mutual dislike, received separate commissions to produce 60ft murals on facing walls of the Palazzo Vecchio, then the council hall at the heart of the Florentine state. Michelangelo planned to depict the nude male figure in The Battle of Cascina. Leonardo would paint horsemen to commemorate the Florentine republic's victory in 1440 over the Milanese.

Their preparatory drawings alone changed the course of Western art. Historian Kenneth Clark observed: 'These battle cartoons of Leonardo and Michelangelo are the turning point of the Renaissance ... they initiate the two styles which 16th-century painting was to develop - the Baroque and the Classical.' But the ultimate showdown never occurred. In 1505 Michelangelo was called away to Rome. Leonardo began work on the wall, completing his central group. However, he is believed to have returned to Milan without finishing it.
http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1859481,00.html
 
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