Lost Da Vinci drawing discovered worth $15.8m.
A previously undiscovered Leonardo da Vinci sketch was unveiled on Monday by French auction house Tajan, who value the drawing at $15.8m.
The extraordinary find was part of an art collection belonging to the late father of a retired French doctor, reported the The New York Times.
The doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, took the collection to the Paris auction house Tajan for valuation in March, when the unusual masterpiece was unearthed.
It was attributed to Da Vinci by an international team of art experts, including one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Experts noted several markers that suggested the sketch, which shows the martyred Saint Sebastian tied to a tree, was by the Italian Renaissance artist and thinker: It was made by a left-handed artist, and on the back featured sketches and the characteristic left-to-right “mirror writing” found in his personal notebooks.
It is also strikingly similar to two other preparatory studies of Saint Sebastian made by the polymath—they are currently on display in Hamburg.
Art historian Carmen Bambach believes that these drawings may point towards the existence of a “lost” painting of the martyr by Da Vinci.
Speaking to The New York Times of the first time she saw the drawing, Bambach said: “My eyes jumped out of their sockets.”
She estimates that the sketch was completed between 1482 and 1485, during the early period of Da Vinci’s career when he was working in Milan.
It is the first unknown Da Vinci sketch to be discovered since 2000, but an oil painting attributed to him was authenticated more recently, in 2011, according to the BBC.
The owner of the drawing seemed laid-back about his good fortune. “I’m very pleased,” he told the New York Times. “But I have other interests in life than money.”
According to Quartz, the piece will go on sale in June 2017.