Among connoisseurs of great art, the giants who are known by a single name comprise a very short list. We have Raphael, Rembrandt, Picasso, Michelangelo, and of course [Thomas] Kinkade. But perhaps none of these can compare with the magic conjured by the name Da Vinci. The discovery of a new Da Vinci work is sending shock waves through the entire art world.
The Uffizi Gallery in Salerno, Italy this week announced a verified previously unknown work from the master’s hand. Untitled by its creator, the painting has been nicknamed “Stick figure Madonna.”
According to sources close to the story, the canvas had languished for centuries in the archives of a Sicilian convent operated by the Holy Sisters of Benevolent Guilt. Experts believe the painting came into the convent’s possession via some connection with the Da Vinci family. This much is known for certain: the world now has an additional work from the hand of Leonardo. All consensus ends there in the art community.
NY Times art critic Hugo Wilde was dismissive of the new discovery. “Yes, it’s a Da Vinci. It’s finger painting! He did it at about age three. The colors are all wrong; the Madonna and baby Jesus have enormous heads, and there’s absolutely no depth to the work. It doesn’t lead the eye anywhere. And what’s up with the rainbow?”
Wilde’s critique drew vehement dissent in other sectors. Uffizi curator for Renaissance works Angela Tarangula insisted a finger painting by Da Vinci is important in understanding the early, formative years of a truly astounding mind. “The world has only one Leonardo. We must not look upon his work with tired, jaded eyes. We should rejoice in having the ‘Stick Figure Madonna’ to study and enjoy.
“So, this Hugo Wilde person, he writes for some newspaper yes?” asked Tarangula. “Private sector employment; how gauche,” she sniffed.
Hollywood rumors say Ms. Tarangula will be portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2014 blockbuster film, “Da Vinci Code – The Early Years.”