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Leonardo da Vinci paintings: Self-portrait
Description of self portrait
Is the Portrait Authentic?
Description face of Leonardo
Other portraits of Leonardo da Vinci
Treatment for Self-Portrait
Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portraits?

Leonardo da Vinci- SelfPortrait

Leonardo da Vinci

1514 - 1516
Red sangina (chalk). 33.3 x 21.3 cm (13.11 x 8.39 inches)
The National Gallery in Turin, Italy


The self-portrait is drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in red chalk on paper. It depicts the head of an elderly man in three-quarter view, his face turned towards the viewer. The subject is distinguished by his long hair and long waving beard which flow over the shoulders and breast. The length of the hair and beard is uncommon in Renaissance portraits and suggests, as now, a person of sagacity. The face has a somewhat aquiline nose and is marked by deep lines on the brow and pouches below the eyes. It appears as if the man has lost his upper front teeth, causing deepening of the grooves from the nostrils. The eyes of the figure do not engage the viewer but gaze ahead, veiled by the long eyebrows, with a sense of solemnity.

The drawing has been drawn in fine lines, shadowed by hatching and executed with the left hand, as was Leonardo's habit. The paper has brownish "fox marks" caused by the accumulation of iron salts due to moisture. It is housed at the Royal Library (Biblioteca Reale) in Turin, Italy, and is not generally viewable by the public due to its fragility and poor condition. “Researchers have developed a nondestructive way to gauge the condition of the drawing by quantifying the chromophores in the paper, the culprit behind its yellowing. Their technique, described in Applied Physics Letters (2014), will be used to assess the rate at which the image is degrading and to estimate its life expectancy.”

This magnificent red chalk piece is believed to be a self-portrait of Leonardo. It is believed he painted this around the age of 60. The piece is very detailed and highlights on the human face. He makes a perfect nose and eyes. He also paints a lot of hair on the painting. The wavy hair flows through the entire painting. The paper is 33.3cm x 21.6cm. It is very small. He draws in a technique called three-quarter. It gives a great view of him facing right. This portrait really portrays the realistic human face.

The artifact is a self-portrait. It is very realistic piece. People were able to see what he actually looks like. If you were to search Da Vinci on the Internet this picture is often shown. He is also trying to show the realistic human face. Although his face is not what we call perfect, he wanted to show the people the true him. He painted this for everyone to see. Da Vinci really expresses true realism.

In Da Vinci’s portrait the values of individualism and humanism are present. By painting himself he portrays individualism. It’s all about himself. He highlights the individual features in himself. The human body is also individualism. He paints his beautiful face and all of his wavy hair. He paints the perfection in himself. It is also humanism. He paints a realistic human. A normal human being. He prints out a very simple real person. Before he painted this he also studied the human body. This allowed him to understand what he was painting.


Leonardo's Self-Portrait is considered so valuable that it is subject to a state decree of immovability.
It can only be moved with ministerial permission.
Is it really a self-portrait of Leonardo?
Is the Portrait Authentic?

This famous red chalk drawing is the only work largely agreed to be a self-portrait by da Vinci. It dates to around 1515, when Leonardo was 63.
The amiable old man depicted in the drawing appears to be of a much older age, and indeed various sources report that the master looked 10 years older than his age

The assumption that the drawing is a self-portrait of Leonardo was made in the 19th century, based on the similarity of the sitter to the portrait of Leonardo in Raphael's The School of Athens and on the high quality of the drawing, consistent with others by Leonardo. It was also decreed to be a self-portrait based on its likeness to the frontispiece portrait of Leonardo in Vasari’s Second Edition of The Lives of the Artists. Frank Zöllner states: "This red chalk drawing has largely determined our idea of Leonardo's appearance for it was long taken to be his only authentic self-portrait." However, the identification of the drawing as a self-portrait is not universally accepted.

The claim that it represents Leonardo has been criticized by a number of Leonardo scholars and experts, such as Robert Payne, Professor Martin Kemp, Professor Pietro Marani, Carlo Pedretti, Larry J. Feinberg, and Ernst Gombrich. A frequent criticism made in the late 20th century is that the drawing depicts a man of a greater age than Leonardo himself achieved, as he died at the age of 67, and he allegedly made the drawing between the age of 58-60. It has been suggested that the sitter represents Leonardo's father Piero da Vinci or his uncle Francesco, based on the fact they both had a long life and lived until the age of 80. Wikipedia.org

  Leonardo’s self-portrait, though a beloved work of art, has been at the center of controversy throughout history regarding it’s authenticity as a self-portrait. Although most scholars see a distinct connection between this drawing’s subject and Plato in Raphael’s The School of Athens (which was posed for by Leonardo, around the same time as the drawing), some scholars have doubts about whether the drawing is indeed a self-portrait of the famed Renaissance master.
Much of the scholarly criticism stems from the observation that the man depicted in the drawing looks much older than Leonardo ever was, as he died at the age of 67. If that is true, the skeptical scholarly belief is that the subject of the drawing is either da Vinci’s father, Ser Piero, or his uncle Francesco
  Generally dated around 1515, some experts believe the picture corresponds more with Leonardo's style in the 1490s, yet the subject of the drawing is an old man.
"He wasn't terribly keen on the idea of self-portraiture full stop," says James Hall, author of The Self-Portrait: a Cultural History - he doesn't believe the portrait was drawn by Leonardo. "He didn't much like the idea that the art work should be a portrayal of the artist. He wanted the art work to represent an ideal."
Hall thinks this drawing has become famous at least partly because of the sheer lack of self-portraits by Leonardo. "People have latched onto this like the philosopher's stone and clung to it."
But others are less sceptical. "I'm quite happy to believe it is a self-portrait but I think it's for each person to decide when they see the real object," says Liz Rideal, the author of two books on self-portraits and a lecturer at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Slade School of Fine Art. She says most people want to believe it is a genuine Leonardo "because he has this superman status… I think we are in awe of genius and therefore, if this is the self-portrait of a genius, then we want to see what he looked like."

  As director of the Royal Library, Giovanni Saccani is in no doubt: "It is a self-portrait… anyone who finds themselves standing in front of this drawing is struck dumb. The first thing they say when they recover is 'this is giving me the shivers'. The expressive power of this face is absolutely connected to an emotion and an ability that only Leonardo could possess."
By Dany Mitzman, Turin, 2014 - bbc.com

Ancient biographers of Leonardo da Vinci describe him in the most attractive features of his face:
By the last years of the life of Turin include a self-portrait of Leonardo. And this self-portrait, probably applies Lomazzo description: "His head was covered with long hair, thick eyebrows and beard are so long that he seemed genuine personification of noble scholarship, which had previously been an ancient druid Hermes and Prometheus."

According to Anonymous:
"He was fine him, proportioned, elegant, with attractive face. He wore a red cloak, reaching to the knees, but then there were long in fashion clothing. Until the middle of the chest flows down a beautiful beard, curly and well combed."

Vinci was a handsome, well built, possessed enormous physical strength, was well versed in the knightly arts, horseback riding, dancing, fencing and so on. BES Brockhaus and Efron

* * * * *
"... He was a tall, slender, beautiful face and extraordinary physical strength, attractive in dealing with people, a good speaker, cheerful and friendly. It is in the things around him, loved beauty, wore shiny clothes happy and appreciated refined pleasure ."
Freud, Leonardo da Vinci. Childhood Memory (Leonardo da Vinci: A Psychosexual Study of an Infantile Reminiscence by Freud)


Emergency Treatment for Leonardo da Vinci’s Self-Portrait
After weeks of recently concluded tests and analysis, a grim diagnosis has been given to Leonardo’s self-portrait, a work completed when the artist was in his 60's, and dates back to the 1510's. The piece was drawn in red chalk on paper and is housed in Turin’s Biblioteca Reale (or, Royal Library). The drawing resides in one of the museum’s vaults so it is not in an area where visitors can see it regularly. However, the drawing was on display during a brief two-month exhibition that coincided with the celebration of the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of Italy’s unification last November.

Condition of Portrait
The drawing is ailing from a condition called “foxing“, which causes reddish spots to form on the surface of a work of art on paper. These spots are not supposed to be on the piece and could have been formed by oxidation stemming from pigmentation that Leonardo used, in addition to fungi forming on the type of paper he used, which consisted of hemp, flax and wool. Rust from the iron in the pigmentation has also been pinpointed as a suspect in the formation of the spots. As you can see in the included picture of the painting, foxing spots almost look like the measles or the chicken pox on Leonardo’s face.

What to Do?
The decision of what to do to aid the drawing will be made collaboratively between the Royal Library, Italy’s restoration institute, and scientists. ”We will continue to study it, to diagnose it. Everyone agrees on that,” said Maria Cristina Misiti, head of Italy’s Central Institute for Restoration and Conservation of Archival and Book Patrimony. The process to remove foxing is a conservation catch-22 of sorts, as success in removal is not completely guaranteed. Due to it’s small size (13.2 x 8.5 inches), delicate structure and age, the decision on whether and how to restore is not an easy one.

University Products carries a long line of conservation products for paper care and repair. Included in this selection of our inventory are conservation work trays, fiber-tipped applicators, mending tapes and adhesives; brushes, and many other products to help you store, protect or repair your document or art collection.
July 12, 2012 by University Products - news.universityproducts.com


Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portraits?

"Last Supper" painting may include two Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portraits  
Last Supper-Leonardo da Vincis self-portraits? Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" may include two self-portraits of the legendary Renaissance artist, according to a British art expert. Ross King says the nose, beards and hairstyles of two of the apostles standing to the right of Jesus in the portrait, Thomas and James the Lesser, match a portrait of Leonardo that was made several years after he created his masterpiece. King told the Independent that while historians have long-suspected Leonardo placed images of himself in his works, no one has thoroughly researched "The Last Supper" for such evidence.
The 15-x-29-foot painting has been the source of endless speculation, though most of the analysis has focused on hidden meanings within the painting itself, such as how each of the apostles is reacting to the revelation that one of them has betrayed Jesus. Still, King concedes that there is no definitive record of Leonardo's physical appearance but says the Greek physical characteristics were "rarities for an Italian man of that period," according to UPI.
Leonardo da Vinci scholar Charles Nicholl supports King's hypothesis, telling the Independent,"Of all the apostles that [Leonardo] would wish to be identified with, I think Doubting Thomas would be top of his list because Leonardo was a great believer in asking questions rather than accepting what people tell you."

Eric Pfeiffer

"Vitruvian Man"
It could be a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci

Going off scant descriptions of the 15th century artist as a younger man, some art historians have suggested Leonardo himself is his Vitruvian Man model.

As Lester told NPR: "He was described as being very finely built, strong, very beautiful with locks of hair that curled and went down to his shoulders. There are a couple of possible renderings of him, one that survives in a sculpture from Florence and another that's in a fresco from Milan, and they both look a bit like that figure as well," but he admitted there's no way to know "for sure."
Kristy Puchko

Vitruvian Man
This is the young Leonardo da Vinci’s selfportrait?  
Vinci selfportrait?
Using GIMP we can add the portrait of the young man
to the selfportrait in red chalk of the old man.

According to Carlo Pedretti, an Italian historian expert on the life and works of Leonardo, this is a selfportrait made when the artist was young. The codex dated approximately 1505, but the portrait is older for sure: Leonardo recycled the paper for the composition of the Codex. To use this portrait it is necessary to remove the written text. Carlo Pedretti was the first to suggest a “restoration” of this drawing, of course not of the real page of the Codex, but made on a photographic plate. The result that Pedretti obtained in 1975, with a negativepositive photographic procedure, was quite good.

However, it was just in 2009 that the portrait became popular because of an Italian scientific journalist, Piero Angela, that presented a digital restoration of this portrait, that is, a restoration of the corresponding digital image. In 2009, I have proposed a simple approach that uses an iterative procedure based on thresholding and interpolation with nearest neighbouring pixels.

According to Pedretti, this is the young Leonardo da Vinci selfportrait. For any comparison with the Raphael’s portrait, we have to complete this image, since the artist abandoned it unfinished. We use another processing tool, the GIMP, for this purpose. Using GIMP, we can add this drawing of the young man to the self-portrait in red chalk of the old man. The result is given in Figure: besides showing that the two faces have the same relative distances of eyes, nose and mouth, this portrait makes the old Leonardo look younger.

Read the full article "An image processing
of a Raphael's portrait of Leonardo"

Other portraits of Leonardo da Vinci

Other portraits of Leonardo by other hands exist, apparently dating from the early 16th century up to the 19th century, pre-dating the identification of the red chalk drawing. These portraits present a different image of Leonardo than the elderly coarse-featured disheveled man as represented in the red chalk drawing. Another red chalk drawing, a profile portrait at Windsor, attributed to his pupil Francesco Melzi, and may be the earliest known surviving portrait. Other portraits, such as the Lucan portrait, or the engraving portrait by Raffaello Morghen are known to have been made after his death.

Several portraits are thought to exist of Leonardo as a youth or a young man. These include Verrocchio's statue of David and a possible self-portrait in the Adoration of the Magi; critics suspect that the lower right attendant in this painting represents Leonardo. In De divina proportione by the mathematician Luca Pacioli, which Leonardo illustrated, the artist may also have included a self-portrait.
H.M. Sheets, ' Portrait of Leonardo', Art News, january 2003, p. 100-107

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