SANTA FE, N.M., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- An alleged Leonardo da Vinci drawing in a private collection, "La Bella Principessa," reputedly worth $150 million and subject of worldwide publicity and a recent book, may actually be a work by early 19th-century German artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872), one of the Nazarene Brotherhood of German painters working in Rome who copied the styles and subjects of Italian Renaissance masters.
The discovery was announced by Fred R. Kline, President of Kline Art Research Associates, Santa Fe, NM. An independent art historian known for many discoveries of lost art, Kline found in August 2010 a related drawing by Schnorr, "Half-Nude Female," in State Art Museum, Mannheim, Germany. Kline's past discoveries include four unsigned drawings and one unsigned painting by other "Nazarene" artists now in prominent museum collections.
"I have no vested interest here other than to question their authoritative judgments and to possibly keep art history free of fakes, bogus science, and substandard connoisseurship," said Kline. "Regarding 'La Principessa,' big questions remain: is this just a biased case of mistaken identity or the most clever art fraud of the last 100 years?"
Most experts in da Vinci's drawings and prominent art historians have rejected the "Principessa" as Leonardo, but the actual creator has been an unsolved mystery since first reported in the New York Times two years ago. No other artist has been suggested until now. Among those who reject the da Vinci "Principessa" is leading expert of Leonardo's drawings, Carmen Bambach, curator at Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Martin Clayton, curator at Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, the world's largest collection of da Vinci drawings.
Leonardo scholar and Oxford Emeritus Professor Martin Kemp, principal author of a recent book, "La Bella Principessa: The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci," offers supportive forensic evidence in the book and his own opinion of the drawing's authenticity. No dissenting opinions were included. "Questionable connoisseurship and questionable science all around," said Kline.
Kline, who also claims a specialty in da Vinci's drawings, believes the Mannheim drawing depicts the same young woman with related braided hair as found in the 'Principessa,' and likely drawn on the identical vellum. According to Kline, vellum, or parchment, is a rare material for drawing which Schnorr often used and Leonardo never used. Two other Schnorr drawings on vellum are at Mannheim. "The 'Principessa' is clearly an idealized version of the Mannheim model recreated in the manner of a Renaissance engagement portrait," said Kline.
Leonardo da Vinci (?) / here attributed to Schnorr, "La Bella Principessa" (Private Collection), 13 x 9.5 inches, ink & colored chalks on vellum: http://www.ereleases.com/pic/2010-Leonardo-alleged.jpg
Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, "Half-Nude Female," 1820-21 (Mannheim Museum), 11.5 x 6.9 inches, pencil on vellum: http://www.ereleases.com/pic/2010-Schnorr-von-Carolsfeld.jpg
SOURCE Kline Art Research Associates