Sunday, August 10, 2008

Leonardo da Vinci - An Arab?

Or at least he had Arab ancestors. The fascinating aspect about this is that not only can researchers find his fingerprints, but they can analyze them for ancestral lineage! [See - there is an upside to the Homeland Security's efforts to fingerprint all immigrants to the US - centuries from now, anthropologists will have a treasure trove].

(from Science, July 25, 2008)
Fingerprints on a painting from the studio of Leonardo da Vinci show the touch of the master himself--and confirm that the artist had Arab ancestors, Italian researchers say.

A team led by Luigi Capasso, an anthropologist at the Museum of Biomedical Sciences in Chieti, Italy, is using infrared light to study prints on The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine and La Madone de Laroque--paintings attributed to members of Leonardo's atelier in Amboise, France. The artist often used his fingers in place of brushes, diluting colors with saliva. But experts couldn't tell whether any of the fingerprints on the paintings were his.

The researchers have now matched one of the prints to a fingerprint on Lady with an Ermine, known to be by Leonardo. Some scholars say Leonardo's mother was an Arab slave, and Capasso and colleagues at the Museo Ideale in Vinci says their research confirms the artist's Middle Eastern origins. The print, from his left index finger, has a Y-shaped pattern shared by 60% of Middle Easterners, says Emiliano Carnieri, a paleontologist at the University of Palermo in Italy. Fingerprints, like blood group or skin color, can help determine a person's ancestral origins, Carnieri says.


shaal said...

please readers go & read this

Anonymous said...

This one study has been cited quite a lot... but the truth is human populations share a lot of fingerprint characteristics with each other. The "Arab" characteristics on this fingerprint is present in a large portion of the Italian people, and Arabs themselves share characteristics with Europeans and other neighbors. So in that sense, the study doesn't really prove much.

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