The drawing of a bearded man is believed to be one among solely two surviving portraits made throughout the artist’s life time.
Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings on the Royal Collection, uncovered the picture whereas analyzing papers saved in Windsor Fort.
He recognized it as a research of Leonardo made by an unidentified assistant shortly earlier than the artist’s dying, aged 67, in 1519.
The one different up to date portrait was made at across the identical time by Leonardo’s pupil Francesco Melzi, the professional mentioned.
One other drawing in Turin is extensively believed to be a “self-portrait” of the Italian grasp however Mr Clayton and different specialists have questioned the declare.
“If you happen to examine this sketch with Francesco Melzi’s portrait of Leonardo, you possibly can see robust indications that this too is an outline of the artist,” mentioned Mr Clayton.
“The elegant straight nostril, the road of the beard rising diagonally up the cheek to the ear, a ringlet falling from the moustache on the nook of the mouth, and the lengthy wavy hair are all precisely as Melzi confirmed them in his portrait.
“Alongside Melzi’s portrait, that is the one different up to date likeness of Leonardo.”
Mr Clayton mentioned Leonardo was aged round 65 within the sketch and appeared “somewhat melancholy and world-weary”.
“He knew that he was dying,” the professional added. ”A paralysis had struck his proper arm, he might now not paint – he might nonetheless draw – and he knew that his physique was failing.”
He added: “Leonardo was famend for his well-kept and luxuriant beard, at a time when comparatively few males had been bearded – although the beard was quickly coming into trend presently.”
The portrait seems on a double-sided sheet of paper bearing Leonardo’s detailed research of a horse’s leg for an equestrian monument.
Artwork historian Kenneth Clark recommended that it was ”simply conceivable” that the portrait was of da Vinci when he compiled a scholarly catalogue of the drawings within the assortment in 1968.
However the Royal Assortment Belief mentioned the suggestion went no additional and it has solely been positively recognized throughout Mr Clayton’s analysis.
Will probably be displayed alongside 200 drawings by the artist in an exhibition on the Queen’s Gallery from 24 Might.
Different highlights embody Leonardo’s research for The Adoration of the Magi portray and The Final Supper.
In November a collection of 80 drawings will transfer to the Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh for the most important exhibition of da Vinci’s works proven in Scotland.
Extra reporting by Press Affiliation