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A very possible Da Vinci emerges

October 15, 2009|Associated Press

A new portrait by Leonardo da Vinci may have been discovered thanks to a centuries-old fingerprint and palm print.

Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, said that a fingerprint on what was presumed to be a 19th century German drawing of a young woman has convinced art experts that it's actually a Leonardo.

Canadian-born art collector Peter Silverman bought "Profile of the Bella Principessa" at the Ganz gallery in New York on behalf of an anonymous Swiss collector in 2007 for about $19,000. New York art dealer Kate Ganz had owned it for about 11 years after buying it at auction for a similar price.

Biro said the print of an index or middle finger was found on the artwork and that it matched a fingerprint from Leonardo's "St. Jerome" in the Vatican. Biro examined multispectral images of the drawing taken by the Lumiere Technology laboratory in Paris. The lab used a special digital scanner to show successive layers of the work.

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