Straight from the recesses of cable TV comes The Da Vinci Detective, a two-part documentary chronicling the work of one Dr. Maurizio Seracini — and his efforts to use modern science in the world of classic art. Since the ‘70s, Florence-native Seracini has been nearly obsessed with finding what happened to one The Battle of Anghiari, one of the many lost works of famous Renaissance maestro, Leonardo Da Vinci. Originally picking a career in engineering, Seracini soon focused his attention on classical art when he realized that technology such as radar, ultrasound, infrared, and even lasers could possibly solve some of the oldest puzzles in the art world — often to the thorough disapproval of the art community.
Throughout the course of The Da Vinci Detective, we are treated to two of Seracini’s endeavors. The first — his quest to find “The Battle of Anghiari” — has made much leeway over the years, but the pursuit is still far from over. The second project documented here was when Seracini was called in to give a “yay” or “nay” as to whether a restoration could be done on Da Vinci’s unfinished and deteriorating “The Appreciation of the Magi.” But upon a close inspection of the work, Seracini discovered that the piece may not have been a true Da Vinci after all.
Released on DVD by Infinity Entertainment and Smithsonian Networks, The Da Vinci Detective is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen (frown). A modest stereo soundtrack comes through just fine, and the disc contains an optional English subtitle track (which is often poorly-transcribed). The only special features are a few promos for other Smithsonian Networks titles.
Some people may consider him to be a hack. Others applaud him as an individualist. Regardless of your personal opinion, Dr. Maurizio Seracini has changed the way we look at art — and The Da Vinci Detective will give you just the right taste of his work.