A London landmark museum has cast doubt on the authenticity of a work purportedly attributed to the world’s most famous painter, Leonardo da Vinci. The Mona Lisa is believed to be the finest painting attributed to the Italian Renaissance master, while the Mona Lisa’s backside is a key item on tour to mark the 1500s artist’s 450th birthday.
But in a report published on Tuesday, the Science Museum in London said the work was “fairly certain to be a modern fake”.
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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s Flagellation of Christ with Niece, was exhibited at the Museum of London in 1725. Merisi reportedly “has taken up the unfinished work of one of da Vinci’s much-loved works, The Lesser Lady of Porcellian”, titled The Florentine Muse.
The Science Museum report cast doubt on his attribution to da Vinci because the foundering artist had eight similar works in his studio, yet there were no versions of his Flagellation.
The study, which suggests the “fairly sure” fake is an atmospheric modeller, was published the day before the supposed da Vinci is to go on show at London’s National Gallery.
The exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, is the first to display the masterpiece in the UK for more than 50 years.