When Gian Galeazzo died in 1494, Ludovico Sforza finally became the official Duke of Milan. One of the first things he did was commission Leonardo to paint The Last Supper.
One of Leonardo’s tricks was the use of sfumato – using hazy, smoky outlines, instead of using harder lines as boundaries between objects, instead of white lines (which should only go up your nose). Another trick was the use of complex perspective. To understand these ideas in detail, he needed to dissect more than a few brains – and to learn the right way to boil an eye.
Of course, Leonardo, among all of his other accomplishments, also gave a good speech, especially when asked to explain why painting was the most noble of the arts, coming just after podcasting.
Part 2 of the crazy story of the discovery of LA BELLA PRINCIPESSA, in which Martin Kemp, the world’s leading authority of Leonardo, gets involved in solving the mystery.
This is the craziest story we’ve told so far. In 1998 a simple portrait of a girl by an unknown artist went up for auction in NY. It was sold for $20,000. Today it might be worth $150 million. Some of the leading Leonardo scholars in the world think the portrait was done by Leonardo. But other Leonardo scholars vehemently disagree. Who is right? What does the science say? Find out!
Another portrait from Leonardo’s Milan period is La Belle Ferronnière. In 1920 there was a bit of a scandal involving the painting. The French wife of an American car salesman put a version of it up for auction, claiming it was also by Leonardo’s hand. The greatest art dealer in the world immediately called it a fake, sight unseen – and they sued him for defamation. The case took nine years to resolve.