In 1565, Giorgio Vasari renovated a building in Florence, Italy called the Hall of the Five Hundred. Sixty years earlier, Leonardo da Vinci painted a mural there. But da Vinci’s mural can no longer be seen.

Where is it?

UC San Diego researcher Maurizio Seracini started a project in 1975 to use technology to try to find out. The mystery still captivates him and his team of researchers at the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archeology at UCSD’s Calit2. They believe it’s hidden behind another fresco, one that Vasari painted.

The center’s project manager, Alexandra Hubenko, was one of six speakers in our recent “Meeting of the Minds” arts and culture event at Horton Plaza. She described the technologies and approaches the team is using to solve the masterpiece mystery.

Here’s her presentation:

For more on this topic, visit the research center’s website and a behind-the-scenes over on National Geographic.

You can also check out our profile of Seracini and the center, our post about an attempt to photograph behind the wall where the painting might be hidden and a post about the controversial holes the team drilled in the visible fresco late last year.

And catch up on the other presenters’ videos:

• Lauren Popp on artist-invented spaces.

• Jory Herman on learning to play bass and teaching kids music.

• Javier Velasco on how women contribute to local theater and dance.

• Marty Poirier on his friend Robert Irwin’s work and plans for the federal courthouse.

• Anna Daniels on Steve Schick and the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus.

I’m Kelly Bennett, Voice of San Diego arts editor. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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