Artist: Leonardo Da Vinci
Style: High Renaissance
Museum: Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
The Virgin of the Rocks (the Madonna of the Rocks) is one of the two different paintings with almost identical compositions, which are at least largely by Leonardo da Vinci. This painting is in the National Gallery, London. Originally thought to have been partially painted by Da Vinci's assistants, recent studies have revealed that it may have been painted by Da Vinci alone. It was painted for the chapel of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, in the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. It was sold by the church, very likely in 1781, and certainly by 1785, when it was bought by Gavin Hamilton, who took it to England. After passing through various collections, it was bought by the National Gallery in 1880. In June 2005, infra-red reflectogram imaging revealed a previous painting beneath the visible one. This is believed to portray a woman kneeling possibly holding a child with one hand with the other hand outstretched. Some researchers believe that the artist's original intention was to paint an adoration of the infant Jesus. Many other pentimenti are visible under x-ray or infra-red examination. In 2009/2010 the painting underwent cleaning and conservation work, returning to display in July 2010. The National Gallery, in a preliminary announcement of the results of the work, said that it revealed the painting was largely, possibly entirely, by Leonardo, and unfinished in parts.
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