The years 1476-8 are widely recognised as the ‘mystery years’ in the life of Leonardo (Chastel 1979: 10; Clark 1982[1933]: 42). It is revealing that 1477 is the only year in-between 1469 and 1519 that has no entry in the recent, detailed Leonardo chronology (Bambach 2003: 227-41). The radicality of such a complete absence is often passed over, or even denied. Scholars try to bridge the gap by hypothetically assigning drawings or even paintings to the ‘1475-78’ period, without having a single point of stable reference for such an inference (Bambach 2003: 306-7; Clayton 1996: 16). Once the cause is identified in the break from Verrocchio, there is no need for pretending continuity.