An artwork attributed to Leonardo da Vinci has been discovered in a Swiss bank vault.
The painting depicts Isabella d'Este, a Renaissance noblewoman. A pencil sketch of Isabella d'Este, closely resembling the finished painting, was drawn by da Vinci in 1499 and is currently hanging in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The 500-year mystery over the painting's existence was solved last week after it was found in a private collection of 400 works. The Italian family who kept the hoard of artworks asked not to be identified, according to the Telegraph.
Tests on the oil portrait suggest it is indeed a da Vinci painting. Carbon dating showed there is a 95 per cent chance it was produced between 1460 and 1650, but further analysis is needed to ensure that certain parts of the painting were not completed by one of the artist's pupils.
Carlo Pedretti, a da Vinci expert from the University of California, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that he was convinced of its authenticity.
"There are no doubts that the portrait is the work of Leonardo," he said. "I can immediately recognise da Vinci's handiwork, particularly in the woman’s face."
There had been debate over whether da Vinci had developed his sketch of Isabella d'Este into a painting. He had begun work on "The Battle of Anghiari" shortly after the sketch so it was believed he had lost interest in it and given it up.