Minister of Culture Nixes Search for Lost da Vinci Fresco
After months of back and forth between Florence's mayor, the head of the city's museums, and the Italian Minister of Culture, the controversial search for Leonardo da Vinci's "lost" fresco has been put on indefinite hold.
Though da Vinci never completed "The Battle of Anghiari" in the Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, his contemporaries praised it as one of his finest works.
Da Vinci abandoned the striking painting of four horsemen at war when his pioneering wax and oil paint technique failed, leaving the mural disfigured as sections of the paint dripped down the wall.
National Geographic has been financing art historian Maurizio Seracini's search for the fresco under Giorgio Vasari's "Battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana" since Seracini found radar and thermographic evidence that Vasari's fresco was painted on a free-standing brick wall a few centimeters away from the salon's original east wall, where da Vinci's fresco was painted.
Florentine Mayor Matteo Renzi asked the head of the city's museums, Cristina Acidini, and Minister of Culture Lorenzo Ornaghi to allow Seracini more access to the "lost" fresco after researchers found black pigment matching that used in da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and "St. John the Baptist" in deeper layers of the wall earlier this year.
Seracini's research angered many in the artistic community, as drilling holes through Vasari's fresco could have damaged the 15th-century work. Ornaghi has finally called for the research to cease in respect of Vasari's work putting the project indefinitely on hold.