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A long-lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco?

March 12, 2012 |  3:53 pm

An image released by National Geographic shows an expert carrying out research on a wall in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.
Could a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci fresco be hiding in a wall at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy?

Researchers from UC San Diego said Monday they have found evidence that suggests that a fresco by the Renaissance master exists beneath another fresco, Giorgio Vasari's "The Battle of Marciano," in the Florentine palace.

As Jason Felch reported on L.A. Now, the researchers said they have found a type of black pigment used in the "Mona Lisa" as well as other colorings suggesting the presence of a fresco. Researchers have drilled holes into the Vasari fresco to obtain the pigment samples.

Maurizio Seracini, who works at UCSD, has been leading the investigation over several years. He believes the unfinished Leonardo work "The Battle of Anghiari" lies beneath the Vasari fresco. The long-lost piece, which the artist started in the early 16th century, is believed to depict four horsemen during the Battle of Anghiari in 1440.

Monday's announcement was far from definitive, with researchers emphasizing that more chemical analysis needs to be carried out.

The project has created some controversy in the art world. Leading art historians from Europe and the U.S. have decried Seracini's work, saying he was destroying a known masterpiece in a futile quest.

Seracini has become something of a Leonardo celebrity after author Dan Brown referenced him in his bestselling novel "The Da Vinci Code."

RELATED:

'Mona Lisa' copy identified at Prado Museum in Spain

Leonardo da Vinci gets his first museum show of paintings

'Mona Lisa' mystery: Was painting completed a decade later?

-- David Ng

Photo: An image released by National Geographic shows an expert carrying out research on a wall in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio. Credit: EPA

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