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Finding Leonardo

In the Palazzo Vecchio's Grand Ceremonial Chamber in Florence, Italy there is a mural which was commissioned by the ruling Medici family and painted by architect and painter Giorgio Vasari during a remodeling of the hall in 1563. In one of the battle scenes depicted in the mural there is a tiny flag with the words "Cerca Trova", seek and ye shall find. This small flag, to a San Diego engineering professor by the name of Mauricio Seracini, has been taken as a clue, a cryptic message from the 16th century as to the whereabouts of one of Leonardo da Vinci's legendary masterpieces, "The Battle of Anghiari", which had adorned a long wall of the hall but disappeared after the remodeling. For decades, painters such as Raphael were said to have traveled to the hall to study the mural, which was Leonardo's largest painting, three times the width of "The Last Supper", but then it vanished. Sercini postulates that Vasari, known to have admired da Vinci's work, found a way to preserve the mural behind his own, leaving a clue on the small flag as to it's whereabouts. A scientific team, led by Sercini, has already found evidence to support this theory and, after obtaining permission from the government of Florence, intends to spend the next year using sophisticated high tech equipment to prove it definitively. It is then hoped that the Vasari fresco can be carefully removed to extract Leonardo's masterpiece and then replaced. How astounding that this missing masterpiece could have been so very close over all these centuries, hidden by the masterful fresco which covered it. 

I can't help but point out the analogy here to our own personal quests to be a human version of a "masterpiece", whatever that may mean to any of us individually in terms of success, intellect, beauty, wealth, spirituality or altruistic qualities. We consistently and doggedly search outward, never quite finding that masterpiece we look for. Perhaps, though, we are looking in the wrong direction. Perhaps, right beneath the surface of our astoundingly complex human exteriors, in the stillness of inner space, our masterpiece waits to be discovered.

Cerca Trova.


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