It was so lost no one knew it even existed. No one was looking for it. No one missed it. But the fact that it was found was stunning news in the arts’ world. It had been over 100 years since the last piece of art belonging to Leonardo Da Vinci was found.
When the simple painting surfaced at an art auction back in 1998, it was assumed to be the work of some German artist from the 19th century. It was mistakenly labeled: “German school, early 19th century.” When Canadian Collector Peter Silverman first saw the portrait he was drawn to it. He wondered if there was more to the painting than the sellers knew about. Could it have been attributed to the wrong artist and the wrong era? Silverman lost the bid to New York dealer Kate Ganz who purchased it for $19,000.
A decade later Silverman and a Swiss collector were strolling through Manhattan. The Swiss collector dropped into Ganz’s gallery and noticed the portrait. Although he specialized in contemporary art, he was intrigued by the 33cm X 22cm (13in X 9in) painting. He alerted Silverman to the portrait inside on Ganz’s desk. It was for sale. Silverman immediately recognized the portrait as the one he unsuccessfully bid on a decade earlier. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, he quickly wrote out a cheque for $20,000.
Convinced that the portrait had a touch of greatness to it, Silverman had experts study it carefully with sophisticated technology. They determined it was the work of a left-handed artist. A good sign. The young woman’s costume and hair style was not from the 19th century but from the late 1400’s. The quality of the work suggested it came from the hand of a master artist.
But what about the fingerprint on the upper left hand corner discovered by a forensic art expert? It was not discernable by human eyes – but there it was. It perfectly matched the fingerprint on Leonardo’s St. Jerome in the Vatican and one other Leonardo masterpiece. The value of the small portrait immediately soared from $20,000 to over $150 million. It is now called: La Bella Principessa.
The Leonardo Da Vinci painting is safely stored in a Swiss vault and will have its international public premiere in 2010 at an exhibition of Italian Renaissance art.
Almost without exception, all cultures sense there is something unique about human beings apart from other living creatures. And yet, so often we undervalue who we are as humans and sell ourselves for much less than our true value. Some people sell themselves to a corporation or to an addiction. Others sell themselves to pleasure or the pursuit of fame. None of these sales reflect the true value of the human soul which bears the fingerprint of God.
Despite the indicators of our uniqueness, many people refuse to take a closer look at the imprint of the Master Artist/Creator. Some deny that God was the Creator. They attribute our value to the artistry of evolution. It’s no small wonder there is an inner emptiness when such a low estimate is placed on who we are as human beings. The ‘human being’ was God’s masterpiece of creation. The Bible says He placed His imprint on us.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The dignity of the human being is found throughout the Bible – distinct and separate from all other aspects of God’s creation. We were made to enjoy a real relationship with God, marked by happy fellowship.
The inner search for peace and fulfillment that people so often talk about is the result of the sin-disconnect between people and God. The connection has been lost because of sin. Like a piece of lost art, we are constantly being undervalued, not recognizing the imprint of our Creator/Owner upon us.
You are worth more than any Leonardo Da Vinci painting. God places an infinite, priceless value upon you. God’s heart is throbbing with love and affection towards you. He gave His Son to die on the Cross for sin – the culprit that marred His masterpiece. Because of Jesus Christ and through faith in Him, all your sins can be forgiven and the Masterpiece-status He originally intended for you can be fully realized.
Jesus, the Son of Man said these words:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Would you like to be found and start the rest of your life with the meaning and value that God has always intended for you? Contact us for more information.
Fingerprint points to new da Vinci painting, Canadian expert claims (link no longer active)