Leonardo da Vinci definitely did not sculpt the Flora bust

Leonardo da Vinci definitely did not sculpt the Flora bust
The Flora wax bust. Credit: SMB-SPK

"It is machination, it is deception," said the director general of the Berlin Royal Museums in his defense when criticized for buying a fake. Wilhelm Bode did not budge an inch: The sculpture he acquired in 1909 was an as-yet unknown production of the great Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci.

After 100 years and numerous controversies, a group of scientists led by a CNRS researcher has just proven him wrong once and for all. The Flora wax bust, conserved at the Bode Museum in Berlin, recently underwent (14C) dating, which provided both a precise date and an incontrovertible result: It was made in the , nearly 300 years after da Vinci's death.

As the was made primarily from spermaceti, a kind of wax extracted from whales, the researchers had to develop a new calibration method to accurately date the work of art.

Their results, which were published on 15 April 2021 in Scientific Reports, show how 14C dating can be applied to unusual materials.


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More information: Ina Reiche et al. New results with regard to the Flora bust controversy: radiocarbon dating suggests nineteenth century origin, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-85505-x
Journal information: Scientific Reports

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Citation: Leonardo da Vinci definitely did not sculpt the Flora bust (2021, April 16) retrieved 6 May 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-leonardo-da-vinci-sculpt-flora.html
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