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Painting Found in Swiss Vault May Be Da Vinci's Work

The artist and innovator Leondardo da Vinci
This chalk drawing by da Vinci is believed to be a self portrait. (Image credit: Leonardo da Vinci, ca. 1510-1515)

What a find! A painting discovered in a Swiss bank vault may be the handiwork of Renaissance virtuoso Leonardo da Vinci. The previously unknown painting resembles a pencil drawing of an Italian noblewoman, Isabella d'Este, currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Da Vinci made the sketch of d'Este in 1499, and the painting, found in a Swiss bank vault owned by an unnamed Italian family, could be the finished product, reported ABC. "There are no doubts that the portrait is the work of Leonardo," Carlos Pedretti, a professor emeritus of art history at the University of California Los Angeles, told Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper.

Carbon dating technology has indicated, with 95 percent accuracy, that the portrait was painted between 1460 and 1650. But, with only 15 to 20 pieces of art properly credited to da Vinci, some experts remain skeptical about the painting's authenticity. "Canvas was not used by Leonardo or anyone in his production line," Martin Kemp, professor emeritus of the history of art at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, told The Daily Telegraph. "Although with Leonardo, the one thing I have learnt is never to be surprised."

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Denise Chow
Denise Chow is the Assistant Managing Editor at Live Science. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for Space.com, where she wrote about rocket launches and covered NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.