A dozen of scientists and David Bershad, an art history professor at St. Mary’s University College, agree. The image of a man with blue eyes, long greying hair and a moustache appears to be a self-portrait of the renowned Renaissance artist, inventor and thinker.
Coming to that conclusion brought together da Vinci’s own passions for art and science as experts used fingerprint analysis, carbon dating and even facial reconstruction software to answer three key questions:
- Does the painting date from the right time period?
- Is it a portrait of da Vinci?
- And, was it painted by the master himself?
“I believe it’s a Leonardo,” Bershad said Tuesday, the day after returning from Italy, where he was able to look at the portrait in person. “It’s exciting to come to that conclusion.”
Bershad was the lone art historian — and sole North American — asked to help assess the authenticity of the portrait, which was discovered in 2009 by a medieval historian studying the art collection of a family in Acerenza, a town in southern Italy.