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Hidden Da Vinci Mural Revealed in Italy

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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Italian restoration experts reportedly have revealed a portion of a tree mural believed to have been painted in the late 1400s by a young Leonardo da Vinci.

The section of the artwork was hidden under as many as 17 layers of paint in a room inside the Sforzesco Castle in Milan, news outlets reported Wednesday (Oct. 23).

Sforzesco Castle
Chris / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution-SA

Inside Milan's Sforzesco Castle and behind layers of paint, restorers have uncovered part of a mural by da Vinci.

The portion of the mural—which features a large tree root among stone—is consistent with the other areas of the mural that adorn the large, vaulted-ceiling room, according to the Italian news service ANSA.

Tree Mural

A video posted here shows close-up footage of the mural and room.

The Italian Renaissance painter was thought to have worked on the tree mural from April to September in 1498. During that time, he and other artists had been commissioned to decorate the castle by the duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, reports relate. Da Vinci was the court artist for the duke, the reports said.

On the other hand, some reports suggest that da Vinci might not have completed the mural, because at that time, Milan was conquered by the French who stormed the castle and used it as barracks.

'Interesting Results'

Nevertheless, the restorers from Florence said initial analyses of the mural have produced “quite interesting results,” according to La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.

Thus far, the team has scraped away newer layers of paint with mechanical means, like scalpels and hammers. However, further work on the piece will likely require more advanced technology, such as ultrasound scaling, laser instruments and chemical products, the news bureau reports.

The mural covers the walls and ceiling in the Sala delle Asse or "room of the planks," an area often used as a reception hall for ambassadors and other foreign dignitaries, according to reports.

Officials in Milan say they plan to have the mural fully restored in time for the 2015 Universal Exposition, a months-long festival hosted by a different country every five years, the Huffington Post reported.


Tagged categories: Artists; Coating chemistry; Conservation; Historic Preservation; Interior Wall Coatings; Maintenance + Renovation; Murals; Restoration

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