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Leonardo da Vinci self-portrait recreated in food by Kent artist to mark painter's 500th birthday

ByLydia Chantler-Hicks

A food artist has recreated an artwork thought to be a self-portrait of the great Leonardo da Vinci using only Italian ingredients - including pasta, meats and cheeses.

Carl Warner, from Horsmonden, near Maidstone, created the artisan artwork to mark 500 years this month since the painter, sculptor and inventor died.

Mr Warner, who was commissioned by restaurant chain Bella Italia to launch its new menu, took more than 20 hours to reimagine the Lucan portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, thought by many to have been a self-portrait of by the artist.

The masterpiece is made entirely from Italian foodstuffs including meat, cheese and pasta
The masterpiece is made entirely from Italian foodstuffs including meat, cheese and pasta

The portrait includes a hat and coat made of artisan breads, eyes made of mozzarella and olives, with fusilli, rigatoni and conchiglione pasta details, Parma ham lips, a chicken breast and fettucine pasta face and a chicken wing nose.

The Renaissance master's beard has recreated with two types of spaghetti.

Warner said: “I was thrilled when Bella Italia asked me to take on this challenge - the abundance of fresh, beautiful ingredients from the new menu gave me a great ‘palette’ to work from when reimagining the classic artwork by one of the great Italian masters.

Food artist Carl Warner working on his creation
Food artist Carl Warner working on his creation
Leonardo da Vinci's self-portrait, upon which the creation was based (10756331)
Leonardo da Vinci's self-portrait, upon which the creation was based (10756331)

"The contrasting textures and shapes of the different varieties of pasta worked particularly well when defining the details in the face of Da Vinci, which I just hope he would have enjoyed."

The portrait was inspired by Da Vinci’s passion for the food and kitchen design innovation - including his creation of a "spaghetti-making machine" and an automated spit that roasted meat.

His interest in the subject is well-documented in surviving kitchen notebooks he left to his student Francesco Melzi, in which the famed artist, scientist and inventor recorded his thoughts on cooking, table etiquette and kitchen inventions.

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