A ‘lost’ Leonardo painting,’The Battle of Anghiari’, never existed say historians at the Uffizi 'lost'-Leonardo-paintings-never-heard-knows-no-historical-te.jpg

What for? The way art historians talk about the recent revelation that a long lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci never existed – except for the preparatory drawing – is indecent. Since when are his drawings insignificant?

According to book

ArtNet’s report on the Battle of Angiari quotes art historian Francesca Fiora who states that the work can only be found in sketch form. That’s it? That’s it? In the light of his recently published book Shadow Drawing: How did science teach Leonardo to draw, how can it ignore his work on paper, like the Battle of Anguiari? With its complex and emotionally charged composition of angry horses and soldiers at war, it is terribly difficult to ignore.


Art News explains why Leonardo’s painting, which was intended for the wall of Palazzo Vecchio, could not exist. The round table of scientists meeting at the Uffizi earlier this month concluded that the choice of material – a gesture based on water and oil – would not make it possible to attach the painting to the wall.

Ancient history

Why is that a message? Weren’t these materials also used in Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco, The Last Supper, in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, which collapsed considerably? (If you think about it, why didn’t Leonardo know that oil and water don’t go together?)

On the contrary

But wait, the Smithsonian has a controversial point of view: Leonardo has finally painted the Battle of Anguiari. (You can get a headache if you read art magazines).

The Institute refers to the statement by the Renaissance historian Giorgio Vasari that he left his painting in Palazzo Vecchio to save it from decay during the restoration of the palace.

Positive detection

Smithsonian noted that other art critics also rejected Leonardo’s idea of non-existent painting.

Maurizio Seracchini, who would have studied the subject over the past 45 years, believes that Vazari kept the painting and left it behind. In 2011 Serakini got permission to drill four small holes for Wazaris to find him. When he couldn’t find it, he asked permission to continue drilling, but was refused.

Finger down

Serachini suggested another possibility: Leonardo’s painting is directly beneath Vasari’s fresco. His proof? The pigment found at this stage is the same pigment found in the Mona Lisa. Fiorani rejected this evidence and told Art News that many artists used the same pigment.

Lots of noise from nowhere

Serachini told Art News that he would continue to search for the painting until proven otherwise. What’s wrong with looking for an incredible masterpiece? Nothing, Maurizio. But I wonder why you’re so busy looking for a lost painting when you have such a beautiful drawing in your hands.

Backlog Question

I have the same question about Leonardo’s preparatory drawings for the life-size equestrian sculpture of the Duke of Milan, which was never built.

It is very interesting to see the artist’s thought process for the sculpture as a sketch for his painting of the Battle of Angiari. Since when has drawing become a poor cousin of painting or sculpture? If loss is the theme of this story, then it is the lost art of drawing.

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