Art historians and researchers are at odds over whether or not a portrait, which Christie’s auction house recently sold for a little over $21,000, was done by the hands of Da Vinci.
MSNBC reports that the portrait was sent to Christie’s in 1998. At the time, Christie’s historians believed the portrait originated in 19th-century Germany, where artists enjoyed mimicking the Renaissance style. It was not until 2010 when Martin Kemp, an art historian with the University of Oxford, first suggested that the portrait may have been a Da Vinci piece.
It is apparent to researches that the piece came from a book given its stitching, and Kemp’s theory is that it was part of a book that showcased the Duke of Milan’s family history. He claims that it is most likely a portrait of the duke’s daughter painted near the date of her wedding.
Da Vinci was the only left-handed artist in the duke’s residence between 1481 and 1499, which aligns with the estimated date of the portrait and the study of the strokes that created it. There is still much debate over the origins of the piece, but Kemp remains confident.
Kemp is not alone in his thoughts. Pascal Cotte, an engineer and art analyst, has partnered with Kemp and the two have co-authored “La Bella Principessa: The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci.”
Read more about the controversial piece here.