£90million long-lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece that vanished twice found in a Swiss bank vault
Nirapad News : A long-lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece thought to be worth £90million and discovered in a bank vault is finally being returned to Italy.
The painting of Renaissance socialite Isabella d’Este, attributed by experts to da Vinci, was seized by police after being found in a bank vault in Switzerland in 2013.
Investigators said the piece had been exported illegally and was in danger of being sold on to an investment fund in the UK.
The portrait, which had been missing for centuries, was uncovered among 400 pieces of art stored in the vault. But in a further twist, when art police ruled the painting had been exported illegally and went to the vault to seize it, they found it had gone missing again.
Incredibly, it surfaced for a second time last year during a car insurance fraud, when Italian police discovered a lawyer was trying to negotiate its sale for £90million.
Prosecutor Manfredi Palumbo said: ‘As part of a separate insurance fraud investigation came to know that an Italian lawyer in Pessaro had been made the agent to tell a painting attributed to da Vinci for no less than 95 million euros (£70m).
‘Just before we seized it we discovered that the lawyer was in negotiations to sell the painting to a UK fund for 120 million euros (£90m).’
‘Once it arrives back in Italy, we will conduct further investigations to establish who really owns the work.’
Experts have attributed the painting to Da Vinci using carbon dating and pointing to a 1499 pencil sketch of the noblewoman that hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The pigments are the same and the priming of the canvas is prepared according to his recipe.
Carlo Pedretti, an expert in Leonardo studies at the University of California, said the tests showed there were ‘no doubts’ that the portrait was the work of da Vinci.
However other experts have cast doubt on the authenticity saying that it could have been completed by his students.