- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
The real da Vinci code: Louvre unlocks last work
Question of the Day
PARIS (AP) - An intense and controversial restoration of the last great work by Leonardo da Vinci goes before the public Thursday at the Louvre Museum, revealing “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne” in the full panoply of hues and detail painted by the Renaissance master 500 years ago.
The 18-month-long restoration of the painting that Leonardo labored on for 20 years until his death in 1519 will go a long way to raising “Saint Anne” to its place as one of the most influential Florentine paintings of its time and a step towards the high Renaissance of Michelangelo.
The cleaning has endowed the painting portraying the Virgin Mary with her mother Saint Anne and the infant Jesus with new life and luminosity. Dull, faded hues were transformed into vivid browns and lapis lazuli that had visitors awe-struck.
The exhibit brings together some 130 preparatory drawings and studies by Leonardo and his apprentices _ something curator Vincent Delieuvin likened to “a police investigation” _ tracing the painting’s conception and revealing to experts today the entire development over the last 20 years of Leonardo’s life.
Almost like detective work, the impressive display of sketch books and mathematical diagrams hold clues not just to unlocking the art behind the painting, but _ for the man who was more famous in his day as an engineer _ the years of scientific research that defined his work.
In one carnet spilling with mathematical sketches, we see how over several years he painstakingly studied light refracting from opaque objects. It decodes the technique that made Leonardo famous. The Saint Anne painting is a glowing example clearly seen in the blue opaque mantle with its almost imperceptible play on light and shadow.
The key to the hazy realism of the tree, too, with the subtle contrast of light in its leaves was cracked by infrared used during the restoration. To get this effect, Leonardo first painted the entire tree structure in full and only afterwards painted the foliage on top.
Another notebook astounds in its detailed analysis of water and air compression that shows the thinking that went into creating the sweeping blue and gray mountains rising up behind Saint Anne and child.
Like the novel “The da Vinci Code,” the restoration of the master’s last work has been accompanied by high-level intrigue worthy of a political thriller.
Seventeen years ago, the Louvre abandoned an attempt to clean the painting amid fears over how the solvents were affecting the sfumato, a painting technique that Leonardo mastered.
After the cleaning was eventually given the green light in 2009, two of France’s top art experts _ Jean-Pierre Cuzin and Segolene Bergeon Langle _ resigned last year from the Louvre advisory committee responsible for the restoration, amid reports they were outraged that restorers were over-cleaning the work to a brightness Leonardo never intended.
The museum confirmed to The Associated Press last year’s resignations but said it could give no further details on the events.
However, on seeing the final product, Bergeon Langle, France’s national authority on art restoration, has partly buried the hatchet.
In an interview in the Louvre’s in-house magazine, she said she has been reassured on some aspects that bothered her. But she also said she remained unhappy about other points of the restoration. She notably criticized the decision to remove a white patch on the body of the infant Jesus, which she said was painted by Leonardo himself.
Whether it was done by the Renaissance man we will never know, an artist who made only 18 works _ all unfinished.
Indeed, mystery still shrouds much of Leonardo’s career.
A discovery restorers stumbled across during the cleaning of the Saint Anne painting points to another mystery, this one in Leonardo’s hometown of Florence and linked to his missing masterpiece “The Battle of Anghiari” also known as “The Lost Leonardo.”
After infrared photography was used to scan the Louvre work, the exhibit shows that two pictures were found that had been secretly hidden in the painting for hundreds of years.
One, drawn by a left-handed artist, is thought to be by Leonardo, who was himself left-handed.
It is a depiction of the hatchings on a horse’s head, similar to that in the mural of “The Battle of Anghiari.”
Curator Delieuvin would not speculate on the finding _ or another more dramatic discovery linked to the lost work revealed earlier this month in Florence.
There, researchers said they may have discovered traces of this lost mural by da Vinci by poking a probe through cracks in a 16th century fresco by Giorgio Vasari painted on the wall of the Palazzo Vecchio, one of the city’s most famous buildings.
The research team leader Maurizio Seracini of the University of California said “The Battle of Anghiari” could be hidden behind the fresco done by Vasari years later.
He pointed out a small but possibly telling clue: painted on a tiny flag in Vasari’s fresco are the words “Cerca trova” _ Italian for “seek and you will find.”
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- MILLER: Obamacare enrollees include 101 members of the House of Representatives
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- EDITORIAL: Our ideological president
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!