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Leonardo da Vinci and The Book Of Doom

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By Simon Hewitt, Oxford-trained art historian and art-market journalist since 1985

An investigation into the origins of Leonardo's recently discovered Portrait of Bianca Sforza (1482/3-96) – illegitimate daughter of Ludovico Il Moro, Duke of Milan – produced for the Sforziada, one of the most lavish history books of the Renaissance. How did Leonardo become involved in illustrating the Sforziada? Why is the book now in the Polish National Library in Warsaw? What secrets does Sforziada illuminator Gianpietro Birago reveal about Leonardo, life at Il Moro's court, and the identity of Leonardo's only male portrait, The Musician? And what makes the Sforziada a 'Book of Doom'?

In partnership with Connaissance des Arts