Decoding Da Vinci, UCSD Alumnus Shows Stunning Discoveries
"We have just completed processing this portion of the painting and it is clear that Leonardo's true genius is even more impressive when you strip away the work of painters and restorers in the intervening centuries," said Seracini, pointing to a series of beautifully executed faces and horses that had never been seen before. "Science can bring so much to our understanding and appreciation for art, and this is why I am especially happy to bring this before an audience of scientists and engineers who have an important role to play in creating a new discipline where art and engineering go hand in hand."
At least part of the excitement surrounding the UCSD engineering alum's talk derived from awareness that Seracini was mentioned in the bestselling novel, "The Da Vinci Code." Author Dan Brown referred to him as the Italian art diagnostician "who unveiled the unsettling truth" about Da Vinci's work.
Seracini was welcomed to the campus by Alumni Association director John Valva and @UCSD editor Raymond Hardie. In his welcome remarks, Calit2 director Larry Smarr told the audience that Seracini's groundbreaking work underscores why the institute's building at UCSD was designed to foster multidisciplinary research between art and technology. Calit2 sponsored a live webcast of Seracini's talk, which is now available for on-demand viewing (see box above) [Real player and a high-speed connection required].
Seracini has unleashed his investigative methods on paintings and other artworks, but none more prized than the Adoration of the Magi, considered the most valuable Da Vinci piece still in Italy. He spent the second hour of his talk taking the audience methodically through the science of rediscovering a wealth of detail in the painting that until now was hidden from sight -- often covered over by paint many years later.
The UCSD event was sponsored by GEICO Insurance and the UCSD Alumni Association, with support from Calit2. In late March, Seracini's work will be part of a major exhibit in Florence, mounted by the Uffizi Gallery and the Museum of Science, titled "The Mind of Da Vinci."