A 500-year-old painting believed to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci has been discovered in a Swiss bank vault.
The portrait – which depicts Marquesa Isabella d’Este – had been kept in the vault by an Italian family who asked not to be named, Sette magazine reported.
It adds carbon dating tests conducted by a lab at the University of Arizona reveal the painting was done between 1460 and 1650.
A sketch of the Marquesa hangs in the Louvre, and historians claim after he drew it the noblewoman asked him to do it again as an oil painting.
“There are no doubts that the portrait is the work of Leonardo,” Carlo Pedretti, a professor emeritus of art history and an expert in Leonardo studies at the University of California, told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“I can immediately recognise da Vinci’s handiwork, particularly in the woman’s face.”
However Martin Kemp, professor emeritus of the history of art at Trinity College, had doubts, and points out the portrait is painted on canvas, whereas da Vinci preferred wooden boards.
Professor Kempt told The Telegraph: “Canvas was not used by Leonardo or anyone on his production line.
“Although with Leonardo, the one thing I have learnt is never to be surprised.’
Long recognised as one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, who specialised in detailed studies of bones, muscles and internal organs, including the heart and brain.