According to a January 29, 2019 national news article titled “Leonardo da Vinci's Thumbprint Discovered: Drawing in Queen Elizabeth's Collection Reveals Secrets” written by James Rogers:
"At the center of the sheet’s left edge, the print is in the same reddish-brown ink as the ink lines of the drawing,” explains the Royal Collection Trust, in a statement. “It can only be concluded that, after creating the work, the left-handed Leonardo picked up the sheet with inky fingers."
As I read the article, I felt assured that this thumb print will likely become the source of many new investigations. If it can be shown to occur repeatedly upon known works of Leonardo, it might well become his signature. And for this reason, its discovery on other works long attributed to Leonardo, but without proof, might well validate their authenticity.
After all, any individual even remotely familiar with modern forensics techniques knows that fingerprints (and any DNA residue deposited therein) are pretty much the universal standard of identifying and documenting evidence of an individual’s involvement in a crime.
Simply put, pretty much anything you or I touch is littered with our fingerprints, thumbprints, and/or palm prints. (In fact, one episode of “Forensic Files” that I saw on television showed how one individual was convicted based on the imprint of his bare foot!)
In a similar article by Akiva Sanders titled “Potters and Their Fingerprints” that I came across in August 2109 edition of the American Schools of Oriental Research’s online newsletter, The Ancient Near East Today, Bible scholars are increasingly finding the actual fingerprints of the potters who made ancient clay figures and utensils.
It turns out, that a fairly surprising amount of information can be gleaned just by examining these fingerprints. Such basic things as the age and gender of the various potters can be reasonably ascertained. And from this, one can begin to track patterns.
For instance, it seems as if younger individuals worked mostly on figurines; while older individuals worked on more intricate pottery designs. Often, the larger size (and placement) of fingerprints increases and corresponds in direct proportion to the level of sophistication of the object being crafted.
The conclusion is that individuals may have been schooled in the work of pottery, perhaps even by being apprenticed to older individuals from whom they learned their trade and under whose tutelage they enhanced their skills. And the older these apprentices became and the better they got at their trade, the more impressive the products they fashioned became. Such certainly seems to have been the case.
One thing remains clear, however. It is highly unlikely that any of these individuals ever suspected that hundreds and even thousands of years after they had passed away, others would be studying how they spent their earthly lives by focusing on the fingerprints they left behind.
In light of this, who knows what the future may hold? Given that everything you and I touch contains a record of our fingerprints, might we reasonably anticipate that future generations will very well one day judge us by our own so-called “handiwork”?
And if that be the case, what then will the record left by our own hands say about us?
As anyone who has seen a beautiful sunset can attest, God’s own handiwork speaks for itself. The Psalmist puts it this way (chapter 19, verse 1): “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” But God’s handiwork is not limited to the heavens above.
In his New Testament Letter to the Ephesians (chapter 2, verse 10), the Apostle Paul says: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
As individuals who have been created by the hand of God and who bear his signature, I hope that you and I both will always find ways to glorify Him by the work of our own hands! In the words of wise King Solomon (in Ecclesiastes chapter 9, verse 10), may we do with all our might whatever our hands find to do!
And in the process, may all who gaze upon us and our accomplishments in this world see clear evidence of our desire to honor God in all we have set our hands to do!