Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Unknown 'da Vinci drawings' found

Staff members initially thought the markings were stains

Previously unknown sketches have been discovered on the back of a Leonardo da Vinci painting in Paris that experts think may have been drawn by him.

The sketches, which were discovered by accident, feature a horse head, part of a skull and baby Jesus with a lamb.

The Louvre Museum discovered them on the back of The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, which was painted on wood.

The sketches were discovered when the painting was taken down and the curator noticed two drawings on the back.

"This is an exceptional discovery because drawings on the back of paintings are very rare and no example by Leonardo was previously known," the Louvre said.

"The style of the drawings recalls the style of Leonardo, but research is ongoing to clarify their authorship."

Photographs taken with an infrared cameras discovered there were actually three drawings.

The museum said some staff members were at first unable to believe the marks were drawings, and thought they must be stains.

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