the fifth centenary of the disappearance of Leonardo da Vinci, which occurred on may 2, 1519 at the manor of Clos Lucé, it conjures up all the mysteries that nimbent his life and work. Two Italian doctors, the plastic surgeon Davide Lazzeri and the neurologist Carlo Rossi have published a new study – the thesis is not new -in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine , in which they come back on the assumption of a paresis of the right hand of the master, which would have touched the end of his life.

According to these two researchers, Leonardo would have been hit by a nerve injury (paralysis due to ulnar or ulnar) of economics, would not have allowed him to hold his palette for the right hand. The hypothesis of a partial disability of the Tuscan master is far from unique. In the Sixteenth century, Antonio de Beatis, secretary to cardinal Louis of Aragon, in the narratives of his voyages, had suggested: “because of the paralysis of the right hand, you can not expect masterpieces. He has trained a disciple milanese, Francesco Melzi, who works very well. Because if master Leonard is no longer able to paint with the delicacy that was his own, however, it continues to draw and teach.”

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The two physicians reached this conclusion through a study of a portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, attributed to an artist of the lombard to the Sixteenth century, Giovanni Ambrogio Figino. A thesis that differs from the explanation most often advanced, and which attributes the paralysis of the right hand to the sequelae of a cerebral vascular accident. Other sources also mention Dupuytren’s disease, a disorder that causes a contraction of the fingers and deformity of the hand.

This blood shows the genius of the three-quarter. His right arm is shrouded by his cloak (as if it were in a sling), his right hand emerged, the fingers partially contracted, and directed upward. For the teacher Lazzeri, cited in a summary of the study, “rather than depict a closed fist, of a typical muscle spasticity following a stroke, this picture suggests a differential diagnosis such as an ulnar paralysis, commonly known as a “hand claw”.

“This paralysis of the ulnar nerve will be the consequence of a fainting (or syncope), which would have caused a trauma in the upper part of his right arm,” the doctor specialized in reconstructive surgery and aesthetic. For the two doctors, so the death of Leonardo da Vinci may well have been caused by a cardiovascular event, his handicap manual is accompanied or cognitive decline, or other motor disorders, which weakens the thesis of a STROKE. And according to professor Lazzeri, “this could therefore explain why he has left numerous paintings unfinished, including The mona lisa , during the last five years of his career, while continuing to teach and to draw”.

“Leonardo-Democritus”, wiping away her tears

the interest shown in The drawing of Giovan Ambrogio Figino is far from new. The great Italian expert of the gesture vincienne, the late professor Carlo Pedretti (1928-2018), had a different interpretation of the work in 2002. “…The movement of the hand that holds the handkerchief is explained well in conjunction with the table Martinez, where it is justified by the act of Democritus, trying to wipe her tears,” he explained.

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The controversy, as always with Leonardo, and will certainly never. Another study, conducted by researchers in the uffizi Museum in Florence published a month ago, has confirmed that the divine painter had been able to write, draw and paint as much of the left hand than the right hand, based on an analysis of his work the oldest. And it is proved, that it drew even at the Manor of Cloux. And this is where, to a bird’s-eye of the royal castle of Amboise, he worked the face and draped in blue on the left side of Sainte-Anne… another of his immortal masterpieces.

The shadow of a doubt : a documentary on the mysteries of Leonardo