One year prior to the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci’s death, a small picture depicting the Archangel Gabriel is presented as the artist’s earliest work. According to the famous Veronan art expert Solari, the painting was created by Da Vinci in April 1471. Maiolica is the name of Italian tin-glazed pottery from the Renaissance period. Solari is supported in his beliefs by a number of other experts who states that the piece was created by the then 18-year-old artist, using his grandfather’s materials.

The newly discovered Archangel Gabriel. Photo: Photo by Trotter Christie via Wikimedia Commons. The newly discovered Archangel Gabriel. Photo: Photo by Trotter Christie via Wikimedia Commons.

In addition to the date, the tile also bears the signature “da Vinci leonardo” as well as the initials LDV. According to Solari this piece is the earliest work known ever created by Da Vinci. Solari presented the painting together with the handwriting expert Ivana Rosa Bonfantino in Rome last week.

The inestimable work is made even more precious by another detail: under the strokes forming the Archangel could be Da Vinci’s own features. This would mean that the work isn’t only one of his first work, but also somewhat his first self portrait.

The sensational discovery will allow scholars to deepen the collective knowledge of the Renaissance genius that created the Salvator Mundi, which beat the former auction record in 2017.

Here you can read about additional auction records through the years!

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), "Salvator Mundi", about 1500. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), "Salvator Mundi", about 1500.

But other major scholars aren't as thrilled. Martin Kemp, professor at Oxford University and long time Da Vinci expert calls to mind that claimed discoveries of previously overlooked works by Leonardo Da Vinci occur almost every year, and say’s it’s unlikely that an original Da Vinci work would survive centuries without the slightest scratch.

Our guess? We haven’t heard the last of it yet.

Here you can find out more about Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi!