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“This is an exciting new discovery of an authentic double-sided sheet by the master (1452-1519), representing on the recto the full figure of the martyred Saint Sebastian tied to a tree in a landscape, and on the verso, notes and diagrams about light and shadow, which relate to Leonardo’s study of optics,” said The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a statement.
A total of eight works depicting St. Sebastian are mentioned in the Codex Atlanticus, a list of da Vinci’s work compiled by the famous artist, scientist and inventor.
Saint Sebastian (died c. 288 AD) was an early Christian saint and martyr. According to Christian belief, he was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows. Despite this being the most common artistic depiction of Sebastian, he was, according to legend, rescued and healed by Irene of Rome. Shortly afterwards he went to Diocletian to warn him about his sins, and as a result was clubbed to death. He is venerated in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
It is the first work discovered by Da Vinci since the year 2000. It is one of 14 sketches brought to the auction house by a retired doctor. The drawings had been collected by the man's father. He chose to remain anonymous.
To me, these finds are priceless and should be in museums and not in private collections.