Another hidden Leonardo da Vinci work surfaces, this time in Italy

Maya Salam

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Who would paint over a Leonardo da Vinci mural in whitewash? Let alone pile on 17 layers?

That's what happened in Italy's Sforzesco Castle. Now the work by one of history's most revered and ingenious artists is being uncovered in the Sala delle Asse (Room of Planks), as restorers peel away the paint using classic methods like scraping, and high-tech techniques and products such as ultrasound scaling, chemicals and lasers, according to the Italian wire service ANSA (Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata).

The discovered portion, which is said to depict a massive tree root in a rock, is likely at least 500 years old and part of the grand tree-filled decoration da Vinci created in the room in 1498, when he was the court artist for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro.

It's possible that the mural was left incomplete because the French conquered Milan during that time, and the castle was repurposed to house soldiers.

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This find comes just weeks after a priceless work of art by Leonardo da Vinci — the original "Renaissance man" who iconically said "Art is never finished, only abandoned" — was discovered in a Swiss bank vault.

That oil-on-canvas portrait of Italian noblewoman Isabella d’Este is clearly evocative of another Leonardo da Vinci work that hangs in Paris's Louvre Museum: a 1499 pencil sketch of d'Este. The 1499 work is said to be the predecessor to da Vinci's most famous piece, "Mona Lisa."