Is Maurizio Seracini on the brink of discovering a lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci that has not been seen since 1563?
Seracini, who has gained international attention for this theory, will explain why he believes that Leonardo da Vinci's greatest masterpiece was not destroyed, but remains hidden behind a Vasari fresco in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. He will give a free, public talk, "Decoding Leonardo: Latest Findings on Leonardo's Annunciation, Adoration of the Magi, and Battle of Anghiari," hosted by the Case Western Reserve University's department of art history and art on Friday, March 30, at 4 p.m. at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Online registration is recommended.
Seracini—scientist, engineer and sometimes "high-tech art detective"—will also meet and talk to a survey class of 80 art and art history students at Case.
Using radar, x-rays and other devices, Seracini's team from the electronic engineering department of the University of Florence discovered a narrow cavity behind the Vasari fresco, "Battle of Marciano," along with the words "Cerca, Trova" (seek and you shall find), written on a flag on the fresco. In 2002, Seracini's research was frozen, and in the fall of 2006, the nation's new culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, ordered that his work resume.
"Leonardo's 'Battle of Anghiari' was considered the highest work of art of the Renaissance at that time," Seracini said. "For over 50 years afterwards, documents spoke of the wonderful horses of Leonardo with the highest admiration."
Seracini believes he is close. Currently, his challenge is to detect Leonardo's masterpiece without touching the Vasari fresco.
Founded in 1977 by Maurizio Seracini, Editech is the first consultancy organization specializing in art and architecture diagnostics. In 1975, Seracini served Dr. Carlo Pedretti as scientific director on Project Leonardo. That project, with the objective to locate the "Battle of Anghiari," was the first and most advanced technological investigation of its kind. Unfortunately, the level of technology at that time proved insufficient, and the research was brought to a premature close.
Seracini has made more than 2,000 investigations of masterpieces in top private and museum collections, as well as some of Italy's most respected historic sites. Examples include Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," Botticelli's "Allegory of Spring" and Giotto's "Maesta," the Dome of the Cathedral in Florence, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino. Seracini holds degrees in bioengineering from the University of California at San Diego, and in electrical engineering from the University of Padua.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.