As one of the most influential artists of all time, any work of Leonardo da Vinci is considered priceless. You can imagine people’s excitement back in the 1990s, when they discovered a previously unknown sketch of the Renaissance master, found among drawings of 17th-century print maker Stefano della Bella. The sketch represented Orpheus being attacked by the Furies and was done for the production of Orpheus by contemporary playwright Poliziano.
Special care had to be taken in order to preserve the sketch, so a team of restorers was brought in. And they immediately proceeded to destroy it by treating it with alcohol and water, causing the ink to fade.
Many scholars were dismayed at the blunder, questioning why the “experts” wouldn’t take the basic precaution of testing the ink for solubility before treating the entire sketch. Leading Leonardo expert Carlo Pedretti decided not to place fault or name names, hoping that the mistake could be reversed using technology.