A newly discovered sketch of Jesus Christ is believed to be an unknown masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci.
The red-chalk drawing depicting the son of God with a vacant, Mona Lisa-like gaze was held in a private collection in Lombardy, Italy, before it was sold to two collectors from Lecco in northern Italy.
“It is a remarkably beautiful and refined work and I’m absolutely convinced it is a sketch by Leonardo,” said Italian art historian Annalisa Di Maria.
Experts tested the paper used on the unknown art, and found that it dates back to the 16th century – around the same time da Vinci sketched Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk using a similar style and medium.
“There are lots of elements — the posture of Christ is typical of Leonardo, who rarely drew figures front-on but from an angle,” Di Maria said.
“It has that dynamism and sense of movement that is typical of Leonardo.”
“The rendering of the beard is practically identical to Leonardo’s self-portraits, as are the eyes. And the painting is in red chalk, which the artist used a lot, including in the sketches for The Last Supper,” she added.
However, some insists that the piece needs to undergo further study before it can be attributed to the world-renowned Renaissance artist.
“I would need to see if it is drawn left-handed. Leonardo drew everything with his left hand,” said Martin Kemp, emeritus professor in the history of art at Oxford University.
Italian researchers are set to present a study of the unknown artwork in Florence as soon as the country gets its second wave of Covid-19 under control.
Prior to the discovery, it is unclear as to where the art had been for centuries.