The case of the vanishing da Vincitags: Leonardo da Vinci
One of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces, drawn in red chalk on paper during the early 1500s and widely believed to be a self-portrait, is in extremely poor condition. Centuries of exposure to humid storage conditions or a closed environment has led to widespread and localized yellowing and browning of the paper, which is reducing the contrast between the colors of chalk and paper and substantially diminishing the visibility of the drawing.
A group of researchers from Italy and Poland with expertise in paper degradation mechanisms was tasked with determining whether the degradation process has now slowed with appropriate conservation conditions—or if the aging process is continuing at an unacceptable rate.
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