An incredible trait that everyone desires to have is passion. With enough passion, someone can reach places people previously thought were impossible. Humanity has advanced through people who have had the passion and integrity to reach as far as they can.
Humanity has gotten closer to the truth when a researcher full of passion found evidence of what seems to be the earliest work of the most popular artist in all of history.
An extremely dedicated art historian, named Ernesto, has done research on Leonardo da Vinci for many years now, spending countless days on finding the beautiful paintings and fascinating discoveries that the famous artist left in his tracks in the distant past. Little did Ernesto know, he would find an artifact that possibly would have set da Vinci on the tracks to become the world’s most renowned artist of all time…
A Childhood Fan
Ernesto has been inspired by the works of da Vinci ever since he was in his childhood, to the point that the renaissance genius became a large part of his career. He wanted to explore the past of Leonardo da Vinci and find the effects he had on the world that weren’t already exposed to the public. There’s a good chance that this dream came true…
It all started when an unsuspecting family in Italy decided to clean out their house. This wasn’t just any family; they’re descendants of the aristocratic Fenice family, one of Italy’s most noble clans at the time. The descendant family found quite a few great paintings, but there was one that stuck out to them, even behind the dust…
When one of the family members dusted the painting off, they immediately knew this piece was from a prestigious artist. The strokes, the shadows, the form, and the balance were all very striking elements to them. The first thing that popped up in their minds was, “Ernesto needs to see this.”
Ernesto was busy doing research in his art studio when he heard a knock on his door. This was strange to him, as he usually didn’t get visitors. Hoping it would be related to da Vinci’s past, the historian stood from his chair and approached the door. When he turned the handle, he would find that his hopes were answered…
The family, with wide smiles of thrill painted on all of their faces, greeted Ernesto and asked if they could speak with him. He saw one of the members carrying something delicately under a rich paper cover. Excited to see what was packed so neatly and professionally inside, the historian invited them in.
The family immediately got down to business and started talking about the item in their possession. They said they were positive that they found one of da Vinci’s oldest items. The historian could barely contain his excitement and told them he was willing to study the piece. He hoped that the family would let him borrow the precious item, and awaited their answer…
To his glee, the family accepted his deal. Nothing could describe how excited he was in this moment. The family gave Ernesto the painting and left the art studio. As soon as the door closed, Ernesto was jumping and cheering all over the place, ready to unveil the art…
Ernesto was immediately stricken by a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, pictured as the Archangel Gabriel, one of the seven Archangels of God in the Bible. Aside from the beautiful art, the thing that baffled Ernesto the most was the extremely tiny signature and date written on the jawline: Da Vinci Leonardo, 1471.
End Of His Teenage Years?
Since da Vinci was born in 1452, this astonished Ernesto. If this item really was painted by the legendary artist, then this would be his earliest known work, painted when da Vinci was only 18 years old!
Real Or Fake?
Before getting too excited, Ernesto needed to make sure this painting was the real deal and not a fake by someone who wanted money or attention. He would need to use the power of science, graphology, and enigmatology to find out whether or not this is da Vinci’s earliest work.
Using a time consuming and complicated process based on radiation called “thermoluminescence dating,” Ernesto was able to conclude that the year 1471 was accurate to the birth year of the painting. The odds were in Ernesto’s favor, but to verify the painting more he needed to see if the handwriting in the signature was accurate to the signatures in da Vinci’s other works…
The study of handwriting, known as graphology, was not an area that Ernesto was comfortable with, so he needed help from an expert in the field named Ivana. The graphologist studied the shape of the letters, direction, size, and many other elements that have a factor in the appearance of a signature. After many studies and comparisons, Ivana came to a conclusion…
Hopes Are High
Ivana found that the handwriting is very close to da Vinci’s signatures in his other paintings, and to his writings in general. At this point, Ernesto and Ivana grew more and more anxious as they closed in on their suspicions; but before they could make any official conclusions, they needed to see if da Vinci’s creativity was in this work.
Leonardo often liked to put hidden puzzles and messages in his works, and it was up to Ernesto and Ivana to see if da Vinci applied his hobby to this one. Together, they analyzed and looked closely at every single detail the painting had to offer, spending countless days and nights in the process. Even when their stress and headaches reached high levels, they couldn’t give up when they were so close.
Then, a light opened up. The two noticed that the piece had several engravings: a chain of numbers and da Vinci’s signature, in a mirrored style, that made up a coded message. The message likely says: ‘I, Leonardo da Vinci, born in 1452, represented myself as the Archangel Gabriel in 1471.’ They had no doubt in their minds that they hit the jackpot.
With all of this scientific evidence gathered after three exhausting years, Ernesto Solari and Ivana Bonfantin were ready to make their claim. At a press conference in Rome, they were going to present to the world what they believed was the most famous artist’s earliest work.
“We have done everything humanly possible to verify its provenance. Science has provided us with concrete evidence that this work is by Leonardo da Vinci. We have plenty of works produced by Leonardo in his later years, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but this provides an insight into the artist as a very young man,” argued Ernesto during the meeting. What were other people going to say about his extraordinary discovery?
The duo has received many mixed reviews, ranging from very low to very high. One of the boldest criticisms was from Martin Kemp, a leading scholar at the University of Oxford. He described that “The handling of the hair is spectacularly unconvincing—it looks like vermicelli. The chance of its being by Leonardo [is] less than zero. The silly season for Leonardo never closes.” This response, along with many other responses, has caused many to doubt Ernesto and Ivana’s credibility. However, they stood still and remained absolutely sure of their findings.
Ernesto and Ivana’s findings have sparked an enormous debate in the public, especially in art communities. Both sides are piled high, and until new evidence is found, there is no way to tell for sure if the Archangel Gabriel self-portrait is really Leonardo da Vinci’s first artwork. As of now, the Archangel Gabriel portrait is just a possibility that nobody knows how long it will remain unsolved for.