Researching the connection between a painting portraying the Roman emperor Domitian and Leonardo da Vinci.

Presenting the Domitian, a newly discovered work of art signed L da Vinci.

Oil on canvas, lined, depicting the Roman emperor Domitian. 52 ½ x 40 ½ in, 133 x 102.5 cm. The painting is signed ”L da Vinci” with the underlined letters ”Pinxt” directly below. The paintings conservator who examined the signature states: ”nothing speaks against that the signature has been there from the beginning”. There is an inscription in the top-right corner of the painting: ”DOMITIANO.IM.XII”.

The painting is covered by a very thick darkened and oxidized dammar varnish which is partially blanched and obscures the overall look of the painting. It has been partially overpainted and has many darkened and discolored retouches. The varnish and the retouches result in a difficulty to fully see the image. The painting needs surface restoration.

Original image. Photo: Helena Christerdotter.
Preliminary image. An attempt to digitally remove the varnish, based on the light blue grey color of the cuirass. When the varnish is removed, the left side of the painting will be brighter than in the image above as the varnish is thicker there and the colors will become more vibrant across the entire painting. Also, notice the extensiveness of the retouches on the painting.

Roman emperor Domitian Oil painting Leonardo da Vinci Titian, Tizian, Tiziano Vecellio, Roman emperors, Eleven Caesars, Undici Cesari, Domitianus, Isabella d’Este, Federico II Gonzaga, Mantova, Mantua, Italy, Francis I, Amboise France, Charles I England.