There is a lot of controversy about this painting at the moment and the truth may never be known but how amazing would it be if this turned out to be a genuine lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci? For many years it was believed to be a German work from the early nineteenth century (it has a very Art Nouveau look about it) and was sold for a mere £12,000 (I say MERE but this is peanuts in comparison to how much a genuine Leonardo da Vinci would sell for), however it now seems that they have discovered Leonardo’s fingerprint in the corner and carbon dating confirms that it could well belong to his working period.
All very exciting, but who does the painting depict? Martin Kemp of Oxford University, who calls the painting La Bella Principessa, has suggested that it could be Bianca Sforza, the illegitimate daughter of Il Moro and one of his mistresses, Bernardina de Corradis.
The unfortunate Bianca was much loved by her father and was married in 1496 at the age of thirteen or fourteen to her father’s army captain, Galeazzo Sanseverino, who was a notable patron of Leonardo’s. Sadly she died only a few months after the wedding, the only remnant probably being the Leonardo da Vinci drawing that was commissioned at the time of her betrothal.