“The Lady in Gray,” 2018, and the “Lucan portrait,” tempera grassa on panel, 60 x 40 cm. (24 x 16”) 1459 - 1523
And how delightfully crazy life is—you become the one you love. Against all the odds, beyond reason—the divine has a playful side. The divine loves beauty, but humor even more. And so, I trespassed into the realm of “selfie” and this is what I brought back—the spittin’ image of one “Lucan portrait” of Leonardo da Vinci. Two Tuscans, carry the unique Etruscan gene, not yet erased by the ravages of time. I snapped it, like many of us are apt, excused or so I thought, by my 60th winter, something along the lines of silver hair and silver linings.
The “Lucan portrait” was discovered where it rested in the cupboard of a private aristocratic home in Acerenza, Italy, the owners believed it was Galileo. On reaching the media in 2011, a self-portrait was ruled out. From 2011- 2018 it remains the focus of heated debate over attribution to Leonardo. There exists a citation from 1815, held in Parma, professing it is indeed, the work of Leonardo, in possession of “the noble family” Russo, at the Palazzo Baranello nella strada Cedronia of the Duke of Baranello. The white feather bears touches of titanium white, but otherwise it dates true. “PINXIT MEA” is painted on the backside in capitalized “mirror writing” running down the left side, not across center. PINXIT MEA from Latin: “one painted,” was added to an artist’s signature, Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Raphael sometimes abbreviated it P, PIN, or PINX.
The portrait depicts Leonardo as a blue-eyed, middle-aged man. Carbon testing placed it 1459- 1523, contemporary with Leonardo who lived from 1452- 1519. The script is in “iron gall” an ink Leonardo used in his Atlantic Codex. Nd gloriously, they found three fingerprints, and one left index fingerprint matches the same fingerprint on the ebony beads of Leonardo’s “Lady with an Ermine.” As Obama said after the 2016 election, “ When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.” Bring it on. .