Battle of Anghiari Project: The Search for Leonardo da Vinci's Lost Masterpiece

Professor Falko Kuester
Professor Maurizio Seracini

battle

 

Leonardo da Vinci's mural, The Battle of Anghiari, has not been seen in nearly 500 years. It was painted in the Palazzo Vecchio's Hall of the 500, and disappeared when the hall was remodeled by Giorgio Vasari starting in 1563. Was Anghiari destroyed? Or did Vasari build a brick wall in front of Leonardo's work before painting his own fresco over it? IGERT-TEECH PI Falko Kuester and co-PI Seracini undertook detailed LIDAR and multispectral scans of the Hall of the 500 to produce a detailed, 3D computer model to aid in the search-and-discovery effort, and graduate students affiliated with the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) spent extended periods of time in Florence.

In 2011-12 Seracini resumed the search leading up to the use of a new type of imaging that has not be used in connection with cultural heritage until now. The nuclear technology – neutron activation analysis – has the potential to see inside the wall, and to determine at the atomic level whether the mural still exists, and if so, to determine what may be left of da Vinci's work.