Friday, February 17, 2012

Cerca Trova: Seek and ye shall find

Photograph by David Yoder, National Geographic

Today I walked into the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence only to find the UC San Diego logo on an elaborate set of scaffolding, flanked by those of National Geographic and the City of Florence.  As it turns out, they have started an in depth and highly technological search for Leonardo Da Vinci's infamously lost painting, "The Battle of Anghiari," once thought to be destroyed, but now believed to be hidden behind Vasari's political painting in the Hall of the Five Hundred in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio.   Below is the finest known copy of what the painting looks like.

The original was done in 1503 and his since been lost for more than five centuries.  Now, Dr. Maurizio Seracini, a cultural heritage engineer and founder of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture, and Archaeology at UC San Diego (was that around when we were there?) is leading the search for what is suspected to be Da Vinci's greatest masterpiece.  In Vasari's painting, there is what seems to be a hidden message: "Cerca Trova" or "seek and you shall find"-a command that Seracini is taking to heart, just as feverishly as Kevin Costner did his in Field of Dreams.

Photograph by David Yoder, National Geographic

The discovery of this painting would be invaluable to the art world, and would be an incredible achievement for Florence and UCSD.  I sure hope they make a miraculous recovery of it before I leave town.  Keep an eye out for the National Geographic special and click here and here if you want to learn more.  Witnessing real historical mysteries being unraveled is a far cry from reading about fictional ones in a Dan Brown novel!  It's so exciting to feel even the slightest bit a part of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment