Case Music Professor Says 500-Year-Old Engraving Depicts Leonardo da Vinci


Ross Duffin, a music professor at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, believes that the man in the portrait here — long thought to be the mythological Orpheus — might actually be Leonardo da Vinci. The portrait, a 500-year old engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, is on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

In short, the man in the Raimondi portrait appears older than most representations of Orpheus. Duffin, in an article in Cleveland Art, also points to the man's pronounce nose, brow and locks as telltale signs — the real da Vinci code, perhaps. There's also the fact, Duffin points out, that historical accounts of da Vinci include his love of music — and the lira. 

"This is serious and stands some chance of being right," said Martin Kemp, an emeritus professor of art history at Oxford University.

In sum: "We do not know for certain whether Marcantonio crossed paths with Leonardo," Duffin writes, "but his engraving of 'Orpheus Charming the Animals' seems clearly to be an homage, intended to honor the musical skill of Leonardo da Vinci by depicting him with the instrument he was known to play incomparably, and which he shared with the greatest of all musicians."

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