World-Renowned Forensics Expert Discusses His Research Findings On Controversial Drawing

LOS ANGLES, CA, January 17, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Is it an authentic da Vinci or is it not? That is the question that continues to swirl around a drawing, originally known as ‘German School, early 19th century’ depicting the portrait of a young woman. The portrait, now known as, ‘La Bella Princessa’ was last sold for a price in the low tens of thousands, but would be valued as high as $150 million or more, were it to be an actual Leonardo da Vinci work.

Peter Paul Biro, co-founder and Director of Forensic Studies at Art Access and Research in Montreal, and a world-renowned art forensics expert and scholar was asked to examine the controversial drawing. He discusses his scientific findings.

“The probability of those fingerprints being Leonardo’s is very high”, said Biro, referring to a fingerprint found near the top of the drawing and revealed in multi-spectral, high-resolution images. Mr. Biro specializes in examining fingerprints for attribution. “It’s a complicated process”, Mr. Biro continues, “It’s not possible to be 100% sure. It’s more of a likelihood situation.”

The drawing was last bought for $19,000 on behalf of a Swiss collector by a Canadian collector. Prior to that, the drawing sold for $21,850 in 1998 at Christie’s Auction House in New York.

Other experts in the field thus far are unable to agree whether the drawing is a genuine Leonard da Vinci, or a 19th century German work. For example, The Albertina in Vienna opted not to show it. Their research department was not convinced that the drawing was in fact a da Vinci.

Yet the drawing has been valued at $150 million by a New York dealer, contingent upon, “uncontested attribution”.

Conservator Peter Paul Biro however is convinced of the work’s da Vinci authenticity. “It took me roughly three (painstaking) months to arrive at the observation that the fingerprints on the drawing can be compared to the fingerprints on Saint Jerome” – referring to Saint Jerome In The Wilderness, an unfinished painting by Leonardo da Vinci, in the Vatican Museums.

Additionally, Peter Paul Biro states that, “There is another print on the drawing that was not possible to compare to anything I currently have in my database of da Vinci fingerprints. However, it is important to note that this edge-of-hand print is consistent with his (da Vinci’s) application of ridge impressions found elsewhere on other works by him.”

For now, ‘La Bella Principessa’ remains an enigma, much like da Vinci himself.

Peter Paul Biro is an accomplished microscopist with over 30 years of experience in identifying painting materials, principally through polarized light microscopy. His clients have included leading private collectors, as well as the world’s most prestigious art museums. Peter Paul Biro has performed numerous forensic examinations, specializing in authentication cases, of artwork in museums, private collections and universities around the world. To learn more about Peter Paul Biro and his art forensic service, please visit

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