Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
A French engineer has revealed two portraits beneath one of polymath Leonardo Da Vinci’s great works known in the English art world as “The Lady with an Ermine.” Pascal Cotte studied the work over the course of three years utilizing a novel technology involving reflective lighting to render some surprising elements to the five hundred year old painting.
Pascal is a co-founder of Lumiere Technology in Paris which invented Layer Amplification Method. The technology involves projecting a series of intense light onto the painting, analyzing the reflections captured by cameras, to reconstruct each of the stacked paint layers.
In an interview, Pascal stated:
“The LAM technique gives us the capability to peel the painting like an onion, removing the surface to see what’s happening inside and behind the different layers of paint. We’ve discovered that Leonardo is always changing his mind. This is someone who hesitates – he erases things, he adds things, he changes his mind again and again.”
Martin Kemp, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, offered his expertise at the revealing of each of the portraits:
“What Pascal Cotte is revealing in France is remarkable.
It tells us a lot more about the way Leonardo’s mind worked when he was doing a painting. We know that he fiddled around a good deal at the beginning, but now we know that he kept fiddling around all the time and it helps explain why he had so much difficulty finishing paintings.”
The Lady with an Ermine depicts Cecilia Gallerani of the Milanese Court. She is the mistress to Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan who was Da Vinci’s main patron for eighteen years. The duke’s nickname was “The White Ermine.”
What is clear from the underlying portraits is that the painting changed notably during its creation by the inclusion of the ermine then the change to the color if its coat. Art for Art’s Sake is certainly attributed to the great artists who are renowned for their pursuits, but pleasing the one who pays the bills is often paramount.
By Darren Smith
Source: BBC News
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.