New research suggests that Leonardo da Vinci suffered severe nerve damage to his right hand after fainting and falling at some point late in his life. The injury may have impacted the famous artist’s painting skills and could explain why the Mona Lisa is unfinished, experts say.

A red chalk portrait of an elderly da Vinci attributed to 16th-century artist Giovan Ambrogio Figino offers vital clues of the Renaissance master’s injury, according to Dr Davide Lazzeri, a specialist in plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgery at the Villa Salaria Clinic in Rome, and Dr Carlo Rossi, a specialist in neurology at the Hospital of Pontedera.

In the drawing, da Vinci’s right arm is pictured in folds of clothing “as if it was a bandage, with his right hand suspended in a stiff, contracted position,” they explain in a statement.

The research challenges the widely held theory that da Vinci had suffered a stroke, hence the depiction of his “contracted” right hand in Figino’s work

In the study, the doctors note that the ambidextrous artist used his left hand to draw and write, but painted with his right hand. The injury, they say, could be the reason why da Vinci never completed the Mona Lisa…Continue Reading


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