Old man with ivy wreath and lions head - by Leonardo da Vinci

Dated around 1503-1505, this highly detailed and well-modelled red chalk drawing shows the powerful, aggressive face of a warrior, although the vine leaves in his hair might suggest Bacchus or a follower. The suggestion of a lionskin over the man's left shoulder could indicate a connection between the man's physiognomy and the lion's head or it could refer to an image of the demi-god Hercules, although the man's age would suggest otherwise. The man's face is definitely leonine in quality and the lionskin highlights this characteristic. Is this a symbolic representation of a character type or a representation of one of the gods of classical mythology? Or merely a sketch that started as a bust or portrait, became Bacchus when some vine leaves were added, and then Hercules with the rough sketch of a lion's head on the man's shoulder? We can only speculate that Leonardo, in common with other artists, liked to build up pictures as the mood took him, and his notebooks would have been the ideal place for such creative expression.