Desperately seeking Leonardo da Vinci
Experts say it's not a self-portrait by da Vinci while others point to the da Vinci trademark carving on the back, in Latin, "Painted by" -- written in reverse as was his wont. Not ultra convincing, as anyone could do that. Strangely enough, The Times (UK) article treats it as a da Vinci self-portrait though there is no proof of that.
Also in March, a 600-year old terracotta bust "discovered under a pile of rubbish in an Italian palazzo may be by Leonardo da Vinci, art historians said today." Originally attributed to Verrocchio, some point out that Leonardo worked in his workshop during those years.
Then there's a Reuters story from Milan about the unbinding of da Vinci's 12 volume Atlantic Code. With some 2,000 designs held in the 12 volumes, "...they weren't visible," said Father Buzzi. The article closes with "Last month Italian experts said a sketch obscured by handwriting for five centuries in one of Da Vinci's notebooks may be a youthful self-portrait."
To take it to a fine extreme, see the Oregonian article about readers seeing "Leonardo in the bones" -- "Chip Ettinger and his wife, Amelia, say the vision of Leonardo da Vinci on an anatomical drawing by the old master jumps off the paper." And many of The Oregonian's newspaper and online readers who saw the story on oregonlive.com/portland agree.
Actually, it does resemble a Picasso-like fragmented face of Leonardo if you squint, or cross the eyes :-)
Possibly of more interest to da Vinci enthusiasts is a book not due in the U.S. until September '09 - The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped>, by Paul Strathern.
'In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli spent the autumn together at the court of Cesare Borgia, the notoriously brutal and ruthless Duke of Romagna.
... Leonardo, at that time Italy's finest military technician, was Borgia's chief military engineer ... [Strathren] re-examines the lives of the three men in the light of this interlude: how it affected their careers and influenced the development of their thought ... a portrait of a fascinating trio, and an insight into the apparent paradox of why such turbulent times produced an outpouring of humanist sentiment almost unparalleled in the history of the West.'
I did get to visit "The Mind of Leonardo" exhibit in Florence but didn't get decent photos. Interesting exhibit though, so I have links to it there. Admirers of Michelangelo's David might enjoy the gallery I did for that sculpture, though.