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Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest work discovered?

Experts in Italy believe that the work is portraying the Archangel Gabriel is a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci and the famous artist’s earliest surviving work.

(Associated press via AP)

Experts in Italy say they have found the earliest surviving work of Leonardo da Vinci.

The small glazed terracotta tile, described as a self-portrait of the artist as the Archangel Gabriel, was unveiled during a press conference in Rome on Thursday.

Professor Ernesto Solari worked with handwriting expert Ivana Bonfantino for the analysis of the majolica tile. Entry of the experts, the Telegraph reports that the infrared analysis showed a small signature on the jaw line of the angel in the face. When the detail is enlarged, read “Lionardo Da Vinci” and the date “1471.”

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Other details, such as the number “52” were detected at the tile, which experts believe is the coded message: “I, Leonardo da Vinci, born in 1452, represented myself as Archangel Gabriel in 1471.”

The tile was examined in three different laboratories, according to Solari, who is of the opinion that the Italian Renaissance master used a pottery kiln owned by his grandparents to produce the tile.

The tile is authenticity, however, is questioned by the renowned Leonardo expert Martin Kemp, emeritus professor in art history at the University of Oxford. “The chance of her being by Leonardo, is less than zero. The silly season for Leonardo never close,” he told The Guardian.

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Kemp also described the tile “vermicelli as” its mostly not convincing.

With so few of Leonardo’s works of art in existence, potential new discoveries come under intensive control.

There is even a discussion about the authenticity of Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” painting, which sold for a record $450.3 million last year.

The painting grabbed headlines around the world when it was sold at Christie’s auction house in New York. “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World”, is one of fewer than 20 paintings of Da Vinci are known and the only one in private hands.

A copy of the Archangel Gabriel tile is on display in Rome Leonardo da Vinci Experience Museum.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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