The hidden Leonardo
Discovering a hidden drawing
The hidden drawing is of a kneeling woman (presumably the Virgin Mary) with her face in near profile and one hand across her breast.
In fact, two sets of underdrawings were found - one for the abandoned picture (Composition A) and another for the current one (Composition B). These have given art historians a new insight into Leonardo's working technique.
In order to obtain the clearest possible image of the hidden design, the Gallery contacted an expert team in Florence through the EU-ARTECH project.
Teams from the INOA (Istituto Nazionale di Ottica Applicata) and the OPD (Opificio delle Pietre Dure) came to London with a high-resolution digital infrared scanner, which is part of the EU-ARTECH project's mobile laboratory.
Intensive collaborative study yielded spectacular images of Leonardo's concealed drawing beneath the paint layers.