Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Visual & Performing Arts; College of Arts & Sciences
Leonardo da Vinci began working on his depiction of the Battle of Anghiari in 1503. The fresco Leonardo was commissioned to complete was to demonstrate Florentine strength and power to all who entered the Salone dei Cinquecento, or the Hall of the Five Hundred, in Florence’s town hall at the time. Leonardo prepared sketches depicting a turbulent battle. He also began the fresco on the wall within the hall. However, he abandoned the work before its completion. Giorgio Vasari was tasked, in the 1560s, with reconstruction and repainting the hall. It is believed that when reconstructing the room, Vasari placed a new wall to paint on and Leonardo’s fresco may have been preserved behind it.
Beginning the 1980s, researchers began to use conservation technology to determine if Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari could remain intact. The search began by using non-invasive and non-destructive methods of radar imagery. While the data showed promising results of pigment present, there is not currently enough information to conclude the Battle of Anghiari was not destroyed. Because of this, controversy arose surrounding the conservation and placing the importance of one artist over another. Ethical questions regarding current conservation practices must be answered in order to ensure the protection of Vasari’s work. In the future with the progression of technology available to conservators, the Battle of Anghiari could be located or determined to no longer remain.
Vincent, Courtney, "Leonardo da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari: An Examination of Conservation Practices and the Search for a Lost Work" (2019). Senior Capstone Theses. 38.