“The Virgin of the Rocks” (London Version), by Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo’s beautiful painting, now in the NGA in London, was once part of a large altarpiece in the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. It most likely replaced an earlier version of the same subject now located in the Louvre in Paris. The painting shows the BVM, a young SJB, an angel and baby Jesus in a type of mysterious vegetation-filled grotto overhung with rocks. Recent restoration revealed an underdrawing that shows that he initially attempted a different design from the earlier version, but then eventually changed his mind so it is almost identical to the Louvre version.


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