Forensic Science and Art

Who has not watched CSI or any of the other crime solving shows where forensic scientist look at remains and are able to tell volumes about who, where, and how.

The BBC recently reported that a forensic art expert working in a Parisian lab has made just such a discovery after careful study of a fingerprint, which has been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

The specs on the victim used to read:

German School, early 19th Century

The Head of a young Girl in Profile to the left in Renaissance Dress

pen and brown ink, bodycolor on vellum

13 x 9 in. (330 x 239 mm.)

Apparently Da Vinci has left such a fingerprint on another work in the Vatican as well as on several of his notes. It is obvious that Da Vinci must have been a messy painter! The print on this painting was found near the top left and is said to correspond to the tip of the index or middle-finger.

It was "highly comparable" to a print on da Vinci's St Jerome in the Vatican, which was painted early in the artist's career when he was thought not to use assistants. Infrared analysis showed "significant" stylistic parallels with da Vinci's Portrait of a Woman in Profile, which hangs in Windsor Castle. Source: BBC

Scientists can also tell from the way marks are left , weather a person was left or right handed. Study on brush marks revealed that the drawing and hatching were made by a left-handed artist, which would further point to da Vinci, who was left handed.

So now that we know who has done it, the question arises who this maiden is.

Da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at Oxford University, believes the teenager, shown in profile, could be Bianca Sforza, daughter of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan (1452-1508). Her dress and hairstyle is consistent with Milanese styles of the late 15th century, which was confirmed through carbon dating.

I suppose the NEW specs on this maiden will read:

Leonardo Da Vinci, 15th Century

The Head of a young Girl in Profile to the left in Renaissance Dress

pen and brown ink, body color on vellum



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