Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Leonardo da Vinci ‘left with claw hand after fainting episode’

© GettyLeonardo Da Vinci statue
Leonardo Da Vinci statue

Leonardo da Vinci may have been prevented from finishing the Mona Lisa after a severe fainting episode left him with a “claw” hand and unable to hold a paintbrush, a new study suggests.

A portrait of the Italian Renaissance artist shows his right hand, wrapped in clothing like a bandage and “suspended in a stiff, contracted position”, according to research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Although da Vinci drew with his left hand, the researchers said he painted with his right and they believe the injury may have forced him to leave many works incomplete.

It has previously been suggested that the artist suffered a stroke in the late stages of his career, which weakened the right side of his body.

While biographical evidence and paintings of the artist appear to confirm he developed a condition “that affected his ability to hold palettes and brushes to paint with his right hand”, the researchers said a stroke was not a likely cause.

Co-author Dr Davide Lazzeri, a specialist plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon at the Villa Salaria Clinic in Rome, said: “Rather than depicting the typical clenched hand seen in post-stroke muscular spasticity, the picture suggests an alternative diagnosis such as ulnar palsy, commonly known as claw hand.”

He suggested a syncope, or fainting episode, could have caused trauma to da Vinci’s right upper arm.

The ulnar nerve runs from the shoulder to the finger and manages intricate movements of the hand.

“This may explain why he left numerous paintings incomplete, including the Mona Lisa, during the last five years of his career as a painter while he continued teaching and drawing,” Dr Lazzeri said.

The Mona Lisa was painted some time between 1503 and 1519, the year of da Vinci’s