Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Case Music Professor Says 500-Year-Old Engraving Depicts Leonardo da Vinci

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Ross Duffin, a music professor at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, believes that the man in the portrait here — long thought to be the mythological Orpheus — might actually be Leonardo da Vinci. The portrait, a 500-year old engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, is on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

In short, the man in the Raimondi portrait appears older than most representations of Orpheus. Duffin, in an article in Cleveland Art, also points to the man's pronounce nose, brow and locks as telltale signs — the real da Vinci code, perhaps. There's also the fact, Duffin points out, that historical accounts of da Vinci include his love of music — and the lira. 

"This is serious and stands some chance of being right," said Martin Kemp, an emeritus professor of art history at Oxford University.

In sum: "We do not know for certain whether Marcantonio crossed paths with Leonardo," Duffin writes, "but his engraving of 'Orpheus Charming the Animals' seems clearly to be an homage, intended to honor the musical skill of Leonardo da Vinci by depicting him with the instrument he was known to play incomparably, and which he shared with the greatest of all musicians."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation