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A single sketch becomes an all-consuming quest to understand and identify a work by Leonardo da Vinci himself—the first new drawing by the great master to have surfaced in over a century.
Fred Kline is a well-known art historian, dealer, connoisseur, and explorer who has made a career of scouring antique stores, estate sales, and auctions looking for unusual—and often misidentified—works of art. Many of the gems he has found are now in major museum collections like the Frick, the Getty, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
But this book is about the discovery of one piece in particular: About ten years ago, when Kline was routinely combing through a Christie's catalog, a beautiful little drawing caught his eye. Attributed to Carracci, it came with a very low estimate, but Kline's every instinct told him that the attribution was wrong. He placed a bid and the low asking price and bought the drawing outright. And that was the beginning of how Kline discovered Leonardo da Vinci's model drawing for the Infant Jesus and the Infant St. John.
It is the first work by da Vinci to have surfaced in over a century. Leonardo’s Holy Child chronicles not only the story of this amazing discovery, from Kline's research all over the world to how exactly attributions work with regards to the old masters (most of their works are unsigned). Kline also sheds light on the idea of "connoisseurship," an often-overlooked facet of art history that's almost Holmesian in its intricacy and specificity.
“Kline has a sharp eye, excellent memory, and top-notch research skills, creating a book that any art lover will love.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An intriguing book. Kline enthusiastically (though sometimes extravagantly) conveys his love of connoisseurship and of ‘art exploring.’ Kline's personal narrative provides a look into the world of lost art and those who search for it.” — Publishers Weekly
“Kline describes this work as ‘a true labor of love,’ and it shows in his careful research and lively prose. Even the most casual museumgoer will find something to appreciate in this fascinating account.” — Booklist