By Doug Ramsey
San Diego, Nov. 24, 2009 -- The French weekly newsmagazine, Le Point, profiles the work of CISA3 Director Maurizio Seracini and his team as they search for a Leonardo da Vinci mural not seen in 450 years. Written by Dominique Dunglas, the four-page feature article appeared in the Society section of the magazine's November 19 edition.
The first paragraphs (translated by CISA3) read as follows:
A masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci, a philosophical touchstone of the Renaissance whose contemporaries baptized as "the school of the world", The Battle of Anghiari is perhaps there, in front of us, eight meters up the eastern wall of the Hall of the 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Present but invisible, a prisoner of the darkness behind the brick wall that made it disappear in the middle of the 16th century. A prison in which the jailer nevertheless did not want to throw away the key forever. On a miniscule fallen standard [flag] in The Battle of Marciano, the fresco that took the place of Leonardo's work, written by hand, "Cerca Trova", "Search, Find". An indicator of a fabulous treasure hunt that Maurizio Serqacini, an engineer specializing in the analysis of works of art, has led for more than thirty years.
We are at the very beginning of the 16th century. Florentine banks dominate a Europe in which the standard money is the florin. The strongman of Florence, Pier Solderini, appointed for life, wants to celebrate the Republic (which had just trounced the Medicis) via a monumental work, a fresco 17-by-7 meters, which will take its place in the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of government. The painting will decorate the hall of the Grand Council, also known as the Hall of the 500, because this is where, in groups of 500, the 1,500 officials elected by the people meet. The theme will be the battle of Anghiari, a small town about 100 kilometers from Florence, during which the united Florentine armies, together with those of Pope Eugene IV, trounced the Milanese in 1440. A political display of the power of the Republic with the blessing of Roman Catholic Church.
For this commission, Soderini approaches in 1503 Leonardo da Vinci, the star of stars, at that time at the very peak of his art and his fame. It's Macchiavelli, author of The Prince, secretary of state to Soderini, who signs the contract with the artist.... (see French version for more).