Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to clean out your attics. Another long lost work of art has been discovered, hidden away for decades, this time in a Scottish farmhouse.
When Fiona McLaren’s father passed down an old painting he had received from one of his patients, she didn’t think much of it. When she redecorated, she didn’t bother to cover the canvas depicting a woman holding a young child while another plays nearby, letting the work get splattered in bits of house paint. But now that experts are speculating that the painting may be a 500-year old work by Renaissance master Leonardo Da Vinci, her feelings towards the work of art have changed.
The painting sat in McLaren’s home in Scotland for close to 50 years before she decided to take the work in for appraisal by Harry Robertson of Sotheby’s. “I showed it to him and he was staggered, speechless save for a sigh of exclamation,” said Ms. McLaren, according to People (UK). The appraiser took the work to London for further study. Now the painting is being analyzed by experts at the University of Cambridge, who will attempt to discover the work’s exact age and origin. McLaren, for her part, has written a book about her own quest to solve the mystery of the painting.
Experts note that the woman in the portrait bears a resemblance to a figure in the da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” as well as to the “Madonna of the Rocks.” While some believe the painting comes from the da Vinci school, but not the master himself, if in fact the painting turns out to be the work of da Vinci, it could potentially be worth more than $150 million.
Adding to the fascination with the work, a papal bull was found attached to the back of the painting. The order is believed to have originated from the era of Pope Paul V, head of the Catholic Church in the early 17th century. McLaren told The Daily Mail that the word “Magdalene” is visible on the faded paper. This leads some to believe that the woman in the painting may be Mary Magdalene, which is also what McLaren believes. She chronicled her own research in a book titled “Da Vinci’s Last Commission.“
McLaren says she hopes the painting will be sold to a museum, and she plans to donate a percentage of the painting’s auction profits to a charity. The rest of us will be scouring our attics and garages looking for own masterpieces.