Searching for the Lost Leonardo: Seracini Speaks at Mason

Posted: March 29, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jennifer Mitchell

Leonardo DaVinci’s Battle of Anghiari, dated sometime during 1499 and 1500, is the subject of recent research by renowned scientific art analyst Maurizio Seracini. The painting began as part of a competition with Michelangelo, whose fresco The Battle of Cascina faces what should be the DaVinci. On Thursday, March 31, Seracini will be at Mason to present “In Search of the Lost Leonardo,” a talk about his quest to prove that the spectacular mural remains in existence behind a wall in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The presentation will be held on the Fairfax Campus in Innovation Hall, Room 105, at 4:30 p.m.

Seracini, whose unique work is detailed in Dan Brown’s best-selling book, The DaVinci Code, uses specially sized medical tools, such as sonography and x-rays, to date and authenticate art. With more than 2,000 works of art in his research repertoire, Seracini is considered a leading authority whose groundbreaking diagnostic techniques in his field have led to the discovery of numerous frauds, as well as the improvement of restoration techniques.

Maureen Lauran, assistant professor of graphic design, met Seracini on a plane trip home from Italy. “He was coming to D.C. to give a talk on DaVinci at the Academy of Arts and Sciences. I’ve been trying to get him to come to Mason ever since.” After hearing him speak, Lauren worked tirelessly to bring Seracini here, and coordinated the event. “The evidence and visuals are stunning, and this talk is a wonderful opportunity.”

Seracini will also discuss his findings on another important work of DaVinci’s, The Adoration of the Magi. Using x-ray technology to date pigment and dust samples, Seracini determined that DaVinci’s real work was a drawing beneath the surface of a painting done by a later artist—an assertion that has created quite a controversy in the art community.

The presentation is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Department of Art and Visual Technology. A reception will follow.

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