Leonardo da Vinci always impressed on his students the importance of depicting nature accurately. Five centuries on, scientists and art historians are trying to work out to what extent Leonardo had a hand in both versions of Virgin of the Rocks — the one in the Louvre, in Paris, and the replica in the National Gallery in London. Doubts have long been cast over whether the Renaissance master made the London painting.
This is a preparatory figure drawing study or figure sketch for the painting Virgin and Child With Saint Anne. The drawing is somewhat blurred, probably because of the abrasion of one sheet over another, but it's nonetheless a beautiful example of the sfumato or smoky, technique. Leonardo used red and black chalk, bringing them together in an attempt to eliminate any evidence of a line.
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Some paintings are as mysterious as they are famous. Gazing at them is like diving into a deep dark sea. You never know what unsuspecting pearl your eyes might prise loose from their secretive lips — what key you might find that can unlock their power.
This painting depicted St. Anne, her daughter the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. Christ is shown grappling with a sacrificial lamb symbolising his Passion whilst the Virgin tries to restrain him.
Sketches hidden underneath Leonardo's 'Virgin of the Rocks' revealed after years. A series of sketches and hand prints made by Leonardo Da Vinci, and hidden underneath one of his most famous paintings for more than years, have been revealed for the first time. Scientific analysis of "The Virgin of the Rocks," on display at London's National Gallery, has shown the original composition Leonardo started and then abandoned, before he painted the final product that has been admired for centuries.
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The Virgin of the Rocks sometimes The Madonna of the Rocks is the name used for two Leonardo da Vinci's paintings, of the same subject, and of a composition which is identical except for two significant details. Both paintings show the Madonna and Christ Child with the infant John the Baptist and an angel, in a rocky setting which gives the paintings their usual name. The significant compositional differences are in the gaze and right hand of the angel.
The painting was commissioned as the high altarpiece for the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence and its theme had long preoccupied Leonardo. It is likely that the painting was commissioned by King Louis XII of France following the birth of his daughter Claude inbut it was never delivered to him. A third sketch showed the infant Jesus playing with a lamb, which sketch was similar to that which is painted on the front side.