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Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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$16.51 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 15 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece
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  • Leonardo's Lost Princess: One Man's Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci
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Editorial Reviews

NOVA meets a new breed of experts who are approaching ""cold case"" art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover ""who committed the art,"" and follows art sleuths as they deploy new techniques to combat the multi-billion dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Directors: David Murdock
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2012
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006JN87MK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,681 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
This DVD presents an incredibly compelling and convincing forensic argument and explanation, that a previously unknown and unrecognized "painting" of Leonardo da Vinci has recently been discovered - by the discerning "eye" and mind of an art dealer that confounded even the supposed art experts at a prestigious international auction house.

Presumably, the art experts at the international auction house have put their liability insurers on notice.

The claim presented in this DVD is so staggering and, psychologically, incomprehensible, that the art world has yet to assimilate or accept its import. Yet this claim is so utterly convincing that the owner of this portrait has allegedly already received an unsolicited, eighty million dollar (U.S. $ 80 million) offer for the purchase of this seemingly "priceless" painting, an offer which the owner declined.

The bidding has started - with an unsolicited bid!

This intriguing world-class art "find" contains other compelling attributes, e.g., if this portrait is in fact by Da Vinci, this is Da Vinci's only recognized work executed on vellum. The work is also executed in pastel. Da Vinci is known in the art world for his experimental and varied methods and mediums in executing his artwork - indeed, one of Da Vinci's most famous of his incredibly famous works, the "Last Supper," has deteriorated to near-total destruction due to Da Vinci's experimental medium in executing this work.
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I am an avid fan of PBS and specifically Nova. I find that their documentaries and reports are well researched, well written and edited in a format that is both educational and intriguing.

The Nova: Mystery of a Masterpiece did not disappoint. I had read the original article in National Geographic regarding the mystery of La Bella Principessa (The Beautiful Princess), which is a portrait done in colored chalk and ink on vellum. Many of the details have lead several experts, including Martin Kemp to believe that this was an artwork of Leonardo da Vinci. I looked forward to seeing the Nova presentation.

The documentary gives both sides of the story with several experts testifying as to why they believe and why they do not believe that the piece could be done by da Vinci. It shows the forensic work which was done in order to look at the individual layers of the drawing, the damage done when removing it from a larger tome of material, the left handed brush strokes and several other interesting details.

After watching the video, I persuaded my wife (an art teacher for 5th grade students) to watch the video as well. After watching it, we immediately purchased the video so that she could show it to her classes. Her classes have been enthralled with the mystery of the picture and how they go about attempting to prove that it is a da Vinci portrait. They are often disappointed to find out that there is no definitive answer to the question "Is this truly a da Vinci work" but she incorporates that into her lesson and allows them to debate whether or not they think it is.

I would recommend this video to anyone interesting in Nova, da Vanci, art history or art forensics. Also, I would recommend it to any teachers looking for a video which shows some of the scientific method or an art teacher looking to share some art history and information with their students.
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Very interesting -- revealing the exhaustive and detailed process that can be embraced to determine the authenticity of a painting. The high-tech tools used in the analysis are interesting in themselves.
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A very well done documentary, and I find the evidence supporting the notion the drawing is a Leonardo convincing, and the counterarguments well refuted. Granted, this is a video being watched on a TV, but I've seen enough da Vinci originals in person up close to "know."
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I saw this documentary on PBS and immediately googled it and purchased it on Amazon the following day! It is fascinating, and as an art teacher, I am always on the lookout for interesting movies for my students to watch when we have an occasional sub! So many art movies for youngsters are boring... and while this movie is not marketed to children/teens, I am positive it will hold their attention and they will be just as intrigued as adults are! I plan on showing this to my 6-8th grade students and would recommend it to other art educators or enthusiasts as well. I think 5th grade through college level students would enjoy this documentary. As a small side note to anyone showing this to young students, some of Da Vinci's art works are shown which include some nudity, such as his famous Vitruvian Man sketch, so you might want to preview the movie yourself to see what you feel is appropriate for the environment/age you are teaching!
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A great introduction to a fascinating case to get beginners interested. It covers possible forgery, carbon dating and historical analysis of elements painted in the painting, and possible explanations(though it plays more of the positive than negative). It does not cover provenance research or chemical analysis of chalk and bonding agent. There are a couple books for those interested in looking more in depth Leonardo's Lost Princess: One Man's Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci or La Bella Principessa: The Story of the New Masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci if you want the book written by one of the people involved.

Overall a good start, but only a small portion of the story.
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