A small Renaissance painting owned by an American museum and not on public view for most of the past two decades has been identified as partly the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

A Miracle of Saint Donato of Arezzo, an altarpiece panel in the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, had long been attributed to the lesser Florentine artist, Lorenzo di Credi. But according Laurence Kanter, chief curator of the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, aspects of the painting, commissioned in 1475, bear the unmistakable stamp of Leonardo.

Kanter told the Observer that “at least half” of the painting is by the Renaissance master, with the rest by Lorenzo. He said that Leonardo’s authorship had been discounted because his artistic style was yet to mature. “We have assumed that a thing by him has to look like his late works, and that he therefore had no beginnings. That, of course, is totally implausible,” said Kanter.

The painting, measuring 16.6cm by 33.5cm, was created for the cathedral of Pistoia in Tuscany. It depicts Saint Donatus helping a tax collector, falsely accused of theft, locate money that his deceased wife had hidden for safekeeping. The altarpiece, created in memory of Bishop Donato de’ Medici, was commissioned from Andrea del Verrocchio, in whose Florentine workshop Leonardo and Lorenzo were apprenticed. Read more