|Dimensions||17 × 24 cm|
133 in colour
La bella principessaBooks, Monographs
di Leonardo da Vinci
Ritratto di Bianca Sforza
by Martin Kemp e Pascal Cotte
The surprising discovery of a previously unknown work by Leonardo da Vinci is reconstructed in this book by Martin Kemp, one of the world’s leading experts on the master. Coordinating a team of art historians and experts in scientific analysis, Kemp investigated the profile portrait of a young woman—”La bella principessa”— garbed in the style in vogue in Milan in the 15th century.
Initially attributed to an anonymous 19th-century German artist, the portrait instead proved to be a colour drawing on vellum by Leonardo, made when the artist worked in Milan at the court of Ludovico Sforza. In all likelihood, the young girl is the ruler’s daughter, Bianca Sforza. Conceived initially as an illustration for an illuminated codex in honour of the Sforza family, the portrait of the “bella principessa” was then removed from the volume and became a separate work of art.
It is not easy to arrive at the attribution of such a unique work, but Kemp and the team of experts who worked with him patiently reconstructed all the technical and historical evidence, even tracking down the original codex, now in Poland, from which the portrait was detached. All of the evidence and analyses are presented in great detail and described in a language catering to a broad readership.
This surprising discovery caused an enormous stir in the field of art history and has gained the consensus of the world’s leading scholars regarding its authorship. The book thus documents the recovery of yet another masterpiece by Leonardo.