Leonardo La Bella Principessa:
personalisation of the debate

Portrait of a young Lady by Leonardo da Vinci

In view the personalised nature of recent postings on the web about the attribution to Leonardo da Vinci of the profile of Bianca Sforza on vellum, I wish to make the following statement.

I wholly reject the personalisation of the debate. A matter of professional judgement is just that and no more. I would rather be right than wrong, but no-one has a divine prerogative to be right. The totality of the evidence about Leonardo’s authorship and the identity of the sitter presents what is close to an open-and-shut case. If genuinely new and decisive evidence indicates to the contrary I will accept that.

Ultimately a single attribution is not a “big deal” to me, either in the local terms of my publications on Leonardo over 50 years, or far more importantly in human terms – it is not a matter of life and death, and pales into insignificance in the light of the problems faced by those less fortunate than those of us who have the time and means at debate such matters.

(I will not be saying more on this unless genuinely new evidence comes to light, with the exception of a long-arranged talk at the Art in Authentication Congress in the Hague on 12th May, and a chapter in my forthcoming book, Living with Leonardo [2017].)