Leonardo's Lost Princess: One Man's Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci [NOOK Book]

Overview

The memory had haunted Peter Silverman for nine years. In 1998, he had seen an exquisite nine-by-thirteen-inch portrait of a lovely young woman in a richly detailed costume. As much as he was captivated by its beauty, he was intrigued by the catalog annotation, which said it was "German, early 19th century." He was certain that the piece was either a genuine Renaissance work or a brilliant forgery. He resolved to pay up to twice the minimum estimate for this extraordinary jewel at auction, but when the time came,...
See more details below
Leonardo's Lost Princess: One Man's Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$25.95
BN.com price

Overview

The memory had haunted Peter Silverman for nine years. In 1998, he had seen an exquisite nine-by-thirteen-inch portrait of a lovely young woman in a richly detailed costume. As much as he was captivated by its beauty, he was intrigued by the catalog annotation, which said it was "German, early 19th century." He was certain that the piece was either a genuine Renaissance work or a brilliant forgery. He resolved to pay up to twice the minimum estimate for this extraordinary jewel at auction, but when the time came, he lost his nerve at $17,000. Now, nine years later, here it was again, for sale in a Manhattan gallery. It would not escape his grasp this time. Still, he had no inkling of the momentous discovery he was about to make or the great controversy that would follow.

In Leonardo's Lost Princess, Silverman tells the riveting story of how his initial suspicions of the portrait's provenance grew as one art expert after another confirmed his view that this haunting image was, indeed, created in the fifteenth century, that the artist was certainly left-handed, and that the quality of the work was extraordinarily fine. Few, least of all Silverman himself, were willing to even hint that it was the rarest of all finds, an original masterpiece by the greatest painter in history. More proof was needed, but where could it be found?

Silverman's account of the cutting-edge science used to authenticate the portrait—from radiocarbon dating to multispectral photography—is as fascinating as it is convincing. Not only were scientists able to prove that the materials dated from Leonardo da Vinci's lifetime, an analysis of photos taken of the portrait using thirteen different light spectra revealed beyond doubt that the work was made by the master himself. They also provided hints to the drawing's history over the intervening centuries.

Still, many questions remained unanswered. Who was this poised and beautiful young woman? Why had Leonardo, who was very busy at the time with multiple projects for his patron, the Duke of Milan, and others, spent valuable time making this small and modest portrait in chalk and ink? Where had it been hiding for five centuries? The answers to these questions could only be found through good, old-fashioned research and legwork, which would take investigators from Paris to Milan to, improbably, Warsaw. The answers they found are surprising, revealing, and often moving.

Complete with vivid accounts of the art-world controversy sparked by Silverman's claim, similar controversies over the authenticity of works supposedly by Leonardo, and the very different lives of Leonardo and the lovely young woman who was his subject, Leonardo's Lost Princess is part whodunit, part revealing exposé, and all-enthralling tale of an impossible dream come true.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

"A long-lost love refound. And the feeling of inevitability—fate put her in my hands after having missed her ten years back." Art collector Peter Silverman wasn't talking about a Nicholas Sparks reunion with a ravishing old soulmate; he was referring to his retrieval of a $147,000,000 Leonardo Da Vinci that he had previously missed purchasing for a mere $19,000. As Leonardo's Lost Princess demonstrates, the story of this 9"x13" chalk, ink and pencil drawing doesn't begin or end there; in fact, it takes us into the high-stakes world of forensic studies and masterpiece attribution. A real-life mystery story for art lovers.

Michelle Marozik

T. Rees Shapiro
Silverman's book is a fascinating tale with Da Vinci Codesque twists.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
Art collector Silverman fell in love with a small portrait of a beautiful young woman, which he came to call La Bella Principessa. He became convinced it was by Leonardo da Vinci, and began a struggle to authenticate the portrait, inciting doubt and excitement in the art world. He carefully details his steps to discover the portrait's true origins: one, multispectral imaging, magnified and detected key elements unique to Leonardo's hand, including his fingerprint and palm impression. Silverman also determined the likely identity of the young lady as noblewoman Bianca Sforza. VERDICT A fascinating look at the inner workings of art attribution, the book takes a subject that could be dry and makes it breathe. Not only does Silverman make a convincing case; he may be pioneering the process for future authentications of works of art with the latest scientific equipment. Specialists will be interested because of the controversy La Bella Principessa has caused, and general readers will be interested because the possibility of finding a new Leonardo is a public event. Recommended.—Ellen Bates, New York
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118163115
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 12/19/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 910,906
  • File size: 653 KB

Meet the Author

PETER SILVERMAN is a noted art collector. Among his significant discoveries are three miscatalogued works by Van Dyck and a wooden cross attributed to Michelangelo.

CATHERINE WHITNEY has written or cowritten more than fifty books in a variety of fields.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Found! 1

2 Who Is She? 15

3 Leonardo’s World 23

4 Real or Fake? 35

5 The Magic Box 51

6 A Scholar’s View 71

7 Leonardo’s Principles 79

8 Beloved Daughter 91

9 The Art of Fingerprints 105

10 The World Reacts 117

11 The $100 Million Blunder? 129

12 The Art World Strikes Back 145

13 What Constitutes Proof? 167

14 Miracle in Warsaw 183

Epilogue: Life’s Fleeting Grace 197

Appendix: Nicholas Turner’s Report on Portrait of a Young Woman in Profile 201

Notes 213

Bibliography 239

Index 243

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2012

    Excellent book!

    This is a very well written story about the discovery of a lost Da Vinci work of art. This exquisite chalk on vellum was discovered about 5 or 6 years ago. The story is about the discovery and the painful process of getting the work authenticated. Most people would have given up but not this art lover. It is full of all the things that make a great art discovery worth every moment of pain through the moment of dicovery, the purchase and the long and tedious process of authentication. Well worth the read!

    Jo-JoNC

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2012

    I read your book this week and am thrilled with your undertaking

    I read your book this week and am thrilled with your undertaking. Although I had read the National Geographic and viewed the NOVA special several times, I learned so much about the art world and the enormous and diligent effort you and your colleagues have invested in bringing La Bella Principessa to her rightful place for the world to take great pleasure in. As a surprise to me, my main take away (beyond the compelling detective and scientific tale) was the enhanced love of beauty and genius that you share – deepening my thoughts about the paintings, drawings and sculpture I love – and trying to understand what it is that draws me to certain works and not others. I want to spend more time with the special works that I love - bravo to you both. This work has many gifts to share with those who aspire to seek and enjoy what is truly beautiful

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2012

    Stunning

    A riveting trip starting in New York City, then to Paris, and on to fascinating European cities to prove "who did it". Who created this breathtaking portrait os a young girl on the cusp of womanhood? The answer,of course,is Leonardo Da Vinci. The answer which was known always by the author of the book ,Peter Silverman and his wife Kathy. The story is not just of a $19,000 find that becomes a $100,000,000 trasure, but of returning a Master work to it's rightful place on the world stage for all to adore.

    This story enthralls the reader to such a degree, that one doesn't even realize how much knowledge of art and the art world is gained.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 13, 2012

    Amazing true story and insight into the old masters are world

    This extraordinary true story regarding a lost chalk by Leonardo is more entertaining and informational than the Da Vinci Code. It opened up the background of the elite old masters experts and the operation of the auction houses. This book is a scholarly and unique journey of an art expert who is passionate and honest in his open tale of how he came upon an undiscovered treasurer. He brings us into his personal life and difficult journey in acquiring the academic and scientific art world's approval. The effort in obtaining the authenticity of this lost Leonardo masterpiece is a once in a life time event. Be aware and prepared to lose a night's sleep in reading this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)