Back in 1909, a couple of very prominent German art historians decided, for various reasons, that a wax figurine of the goddess Flora that one of them had picked up at a London antique store simply had to be a genuine Leonardo da Vinci, and announced this with great fanfare. The London Times responded that no, the bust was actually sculpted by one Richard Cockle Lucas in 1860. “In the next two years, more than 730 heated articles were written debating the attribution. There were debates on the floor of the Prussian parliament. Two scholars challenged each other to a duel. … The debate got less aggressive over the decades, but never died down. Even modern technology hasn’t been able to settle the issue conclusively, because wax, as it happens, is a complicated medium to date.” But a new study has at least conclusively ruled out Leonardo, and here’s how. – The History Blog

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