Hidden sketches in da Vinci piece revealed

May 29, 2006 at 9:09 AM

FLORENCE, Italy, May 29 (UPI) -- An Italian art scientist has discovered sketches by an unknown artist underneath Leonardo da Vinci's "Adoration of the Magi."

Using multispectrum imaging, Maurizio Seracini found the brown monochrome painting on top of da Vinci's under-drawings was carried out by a minor artist about 20 years after da Vinci had finished and abandoned the preparatory work, The Times of London reported.

The presence of da Vinci's own under-drawings have already been recreated from the work, showing knights at battle, an elephant and workers rebuilding a ruined temple.

Da Vinci was commissioned to do the Renaissance work by a community of monks in Scopeto, near Florence, in 1481, and historians agree the monks were probably shocked when they saw the work being developed by the 29-year-old artist.

"They almost certainly didn't want a bloody battle going on a few inches from the Madonna's head," Seracini said.

A video of Seracini's findings is available online at florence.tv.

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