Peter Hohenstatt was skeptical at first, especially when he learned the drawing dated to about 1500.
The sketch was "absolutely Leonardesque," the University of Parma art historian thought, but it was probably the product of one of the master's students, imitators or admirers. When a technical exam showed the drawing originated closer to 1473, his skepticism waned.
The reason? Leonardo da Vinci was an apprentice until the late 1470s. He didn't have any students, imitators or admirers of his own yet. "I can't be sure it's a Leonardo drawing, not scientifically or any other way," said Hohenstatt, "but I'm highly convinced that we have here one of the first drawings. I'm quite convinced it's one of his first portrait sketches."
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