I heard that they discovered a new Da Vinci...his fingerprint is on it, so that is gonna be hard to dispute. But, he didn't sign the thing. Here's the painting, a chalk, ink and pencil drawing. It is known as "La Bella Principessa".
Artists don't always sign their work, for various reasons. The guy that bought this on behalf of some other buyer, paid like $19,000, and it could be estimated at $150million! I wonder what commission he gets. All I can say is "Darn it! Now I really don't have a chance of finding the last Da Vinci" Everyone wants to find a gem, but it is pretty unlikely you'll find one at a yard sale, the only place I ever look.
Anyway, if someone asks me to do something I don't really want to do, then I probably wont sign it. I think Da Vinci didn't sign this one because it was just a study of some sort, maybe a commission, but obviously not very personal. There couldn't have been much money in painting mugshots back then. When you're a commercial artist, you paint for money, and do what the client asks for; you find yourself saying, "this is not mine." You might not even like it, so why sign it?
Also, it would be in obvious poor taste to sign something that you copied or wasn't your idea. The painting above is a complete hack job rip off, for example. And a lousy one at that! I have a book on acrylics, giving techniques from a number of painters on the subject. I thought I would attempt to follow some other painter's instruction and see if I could paint that way, since I will be teaching a little workshop in the Winter. It didn't work out so well, but hey, this blog is a documentary, isn't it? Naturally, I wont sign it. In fact, I think this one is going to Bill. (If you use a magnifying glass, Bill, there must be a weed in there somewhere.) He wont be happy that I am sending him my junky cheap ripoffs, but I am amused, and I think he would appreciate that at least.
Among advice I have received from some successful people over the years were a few key ideas that stuck with me: "Live long enough, do good work, and screw 'em if they can't take a joke!" So, with that in mind, do the first 2 publicly, and with the last, take liberties.
For the not so good work, don't sign it, and think of the great freedom that allows...You can now sell all the crap in your basement that wasn't good enough to sign, and no one will know you painted it! Or sign someone else's name! Get some extra cash and go bowling!
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Things to Ponder
Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. -Andy Warhol
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. -Walt Disney