Did Leonardo da Vinci have a hand in a Worcester Art Museum painting?

“A Miracle of Saint Donatus of Arezzo” is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo di Credi.

WORCESTER — When Rita Albertson came to work as a conservator at the Worcester Art Museum in 1993, she believed “A Miracle of Saint Donatus at Arezzo,” a small Italian Renaissance painting, had been painted by Lorenzo di Credi, a lesser Florentine artist.

And why not? Lorenzo’s name was on the wall label. Curator Philip Hendy had attributed the work to him in the 1970s.

But that had been a downgrade: Ever since the painting had turned up at a Paris art sale in 1933, it had been thought to have been painted by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Worcester collectors Theodore T. and Mary G. Ellis purchased it and later donated it to the museum.

In 1995, Albertson’s friend Laurence Kanter, now the chief curator at the Yale University Art Gallery, was visiting the museum and the painting caught his eye – especially the clothing around Saint Donatus’s legs.

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