Newly found sketch of Christ likely unknown masterpiece by Da Vinci

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It could be the Holy Grail of the art world.

A newly discovered sketch of Jesus Christ that’s been gathering dust for centuries is likely an unknown masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci, according to experts.

The previously unknown red-chalk drawing — which depicts the son of God with a vacant, Mona Lisa-like gaze —  was held in a private collection at a bank in Lombardy, Italy before it recently surfaced, according to the UK’s Telegraph.

“It is a remarkably beautiful and refined work and I’m absolutely convinced it is a sketch by Leonardo,” Annalisa Di Maria, an Italian art historian who studied the sketch, told The Telegraph.

To determine if the piece was made by the world-renowned Renaissance artist, experts tested the paper and found it dates back to the 16th century — around the time da Vinci sketched “Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk” in a similar style and medium, according to experts.

“There are lots of elements – the posture of Christ is typical of Leonardo, who rarely drew figures front-on but from an angle,” said Di Maria. “It has that dynamism and sense of movement that is typical of Leonardo.”

She added, “The rendering of the beard is practically identical to Leonardo’s self-portraits, as are the eyes. And the painting is in red chalk, which the artist used a lot, including in the sketches for The Last Supper.”

Others, who hadn’t yet seen the art in person, said they’d need to examine whether it was drawn by a left-handed person.

On occasion of the Holy Shroud Exposition, in the Senate

An Italian scholar claims to have discovered a new drawing of Jesus Christ by Leonardo da Vinci.

LightRocket via Getty Images

Christie's Previews Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi Prior To Auction

Christie's Previews Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi Prior To Auction

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’

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“I would need to see if it is drawn left-handed. Leonardo drew everything with his left hand,” said Martin Kemp, emeritus professor in the history of art at Oxford University, told the The Telegraph.

The piece is now in the hands of two collectors from the northern Italian town of Lecco, who acquired it from a private collection. A lengthy study of the artwork will be presented in Florence after Italy gets its second wave of the coronavirus under control, the paper reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the art had been stashed for centuries.

Da Vinci, who was born in 1452, created masterpieces such as “The Mona Lisa,” “The Last Supper” and “The Vitruvian Man.”

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