The Italian Almanac

profile recently attibuted to Leonardo

A New Profile

A major new exhibition expected to draw visitors from across Europe opens in Sweden, bringing together work by Italy's three Renaissance superstars: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. The exhibition in the southwest city of Gothenburg is being billed as once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the output of all three great masters side-by-side in a single event. Entitled ':And There Was Light', the Gothenburg show marks the first stage on a six-year international tour that will travel the globe, spotlighting masterpieces that have cost organizers over 100 million euros to insure.

Among the pieces expected to draw particular interest is a newly 'discovered' Leonardo piece. 'A Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress' was for decades believed to be the work of a 19th-century German artist until tests revealed a 500-year-old fingerprint of Leonardo. Carbon dating and infrared surveys confirmed the age and style were consistent with a Leonardo work, making it the first 'new' piece attributed to the master in over 100 years. The Gothenburg exhibition will mark the first public display of the painting since its new identity was announced last autumn.

':And There Was Light' is organized as a 'journey through time', from the 21st century to the Renaissance and then back to the present. It uses original works to explore different techniques and disciplines. It looks at panel and canvas paintings, loose-leaf and manuscript drawings in science, technology and architecture, sculpture in stone, bronze and terracotta, and various forms of etchings.

A 40-tonne block of marble has also been shipped all the way from northern Tuscany and will go on display alongside a perfect reproduction of Michelangelo's David. The block comes from the same quarries in Carrara that produced the marble for Michelangelo's original 5.17-metre-high statue and is designed to give visitors a sense of the scale of his achievement.