Da Vinci sketch

Lost draw­ing found in France, worth es­ti­mated $15.8 mil­lion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Paris

A lost draw­ing by the Re­nais­sance mas­ter Leonardo da Vinci has been dis­cov­ered in the pa­pers of a French provin­cial doc­tor, a Paris auc­tion house said on Tues­day.

The sketch of Saint Se­bas­tian is thought to be worth around 15 mil­lion eu­ros ($15.8 mil­lion) and is an “ex­traordi- nary dis­cov­ery”, the Ta­jan auc­tion house said.

It has been au­then­ti­cated by the French spe­cial­ist Pa­trick de Bayser and Car­men C. Bam­bach, cu­ra­tor of Re­nais­sance draw­ings at New York’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum and a da Vinci expert, it added.

The dra­matic study, which it is thought Leonardo did in his late twen­ties or early thir­ties af­ter he was ac­quit­ted of sodomy, is one of eight he is known to have drawn.

The find is ex­tremely rare, with the last da Vinci draw­ing that came to mar­ket — a sketch of a horse and rider — equal­ing the world record for an Old Mas­ter draw­ing when it sold for $10 mil­lion in 2001.

It was then said to be the most sig­nif­i­cant draw­ing by the artist and poly­math to be sold at auc­tion since the 1930s.

De Bayser said he came across the new sketch, done with a quill pen, dur­ing a rou­tine trawl through ma­te­rial sent for val­u­a­tion.

He thought it was pos­si­bly by a 15 th-cen­tury artist un­til he turned the torn pa­per over.

On the back he found a cou­ple of sci­en­tific sketches about an op­ti­cal ex­per­i­ment show­ing the shadow thrown by a can­dle and some “spec­tac­u­lar” back-to-front writ­ing.

Da Vinci reg­u­larly used the tech­nique so his writ­ing could only be read us­ing a mir­ror.

De Bayser then no­ticed that the shad­ing in the draw­ing of Saint Se­bas­tian, which showed the mar­tyr with wild hair pinned to a tree trunk, went from right to left.

“That meant that it was drawn by a left-handed artist” like da Vinci, he said.

It is now thought the sketch may have come from one of the artist’s fa­mous note­books.

The owner of the 19.3 by 13 cen­time­ter sketch wants to re­main anony­mous, the auc­tion house said.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

An em­ployee of Paris auc­tion­eer Ta­jan dis­plays the pre­vi­ously undis­cov­ered draw­ing by Leonardo da Vinci on Tues­day.

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