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Pope Francis

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The only known self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci arrives in Rome

2015-07-19

This is the only self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. It is a drawing done with a simple technique that bears out the weight of years upon the genius of the Renaissance.

It was transferred from the Royal Library of Turin to Rome using state of the art security measures and until August 3rd it will be on display right in the middle of the city in the Capitoline Museums. 

SERGIO GUARINO
Historian
"We don't know with certainty that this is the only one he did, but in everyone's collective imagination this is the only self portrait by Leonardo.”

The strength of the drawing is in the detail with which he drew his face and his expression. A profound gaze, melancholic features, and deep wrinkles mark his face. 

It's estimated that when he completed the piece he was about 60 years old. He used a technique well suited for portraiture: sanguine, which yields a distinctive reddish hue. 

SERGIO GUARINO
Historian
"The medium he used is called a sanguine, a mineral with a reddish hue that resembles blood, hence the name. It was a technique often used in Italian painting, although not just Italian.”

In addition to the self portrait, the exhibit is divided into three parts which inform the visitor of the details of Leonardo da Vinci's life, such as the artistic estate he bequeathed to his pupil Francesco Melzi, and his painting techniques. 


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