Italian art sleuths ‘discover Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest masterpiece,’ complete with tiny signature
Italian scholars claim to have discovered the earliest known work by Leonardo da Vinci – a previously unattributed portrait of the Archangel Gabriel.
They said infrared analysis had revealed a tiny signature on the jawline of the angel’s face which, when magnified, reads “Da Vinci Lionardo” with a date, 1471.
If verified, it would be the earliest surviving work by the Renaissance genius, as well as his earliest known signature.
He would have been 18 when he painted the portrait which appears on a majolica glazed tile – a popular art form in Europe in the 15th century.
The signature went unnoticed for five centuries becuase it is all but invisible to the naked eye, researchers claim.