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Da Vinci's Madonna and Child Painting with St. Anne

Da Vinci's Madonna and Child Painting with St. Anne

Madonna and Child
Painting with St Anne

c. 1510, by Leonardo da Vinci
Oil on wood, 168 x 130 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

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Italian Renaissance painter, Leonardo da Vinci, explored the theme of Madonna and Child painting several times throughout his career. Like the earlier Burlington House Cartoon of ca. 1500, this Madonna and Child painting of ca. 1510 now in the Louvre features the unusual device of Madonna seated in the lap of St. Anne. However, absent in this Madonna and Child painting is the infant St. John the Baptist. The Christ Child is found on the ground at the feet of the Madonna roughly embracing a lamb while the Madonna appears to be trying to restrain him.

The strong pyramidal composition of this Madonna and Child painting features St. Anne at the apex and is a more stable composition than da Vinci’s painting of 1500.Characteristic of Leonardo in this Madonna and Child painting is his smoky sfumato technique, modeling of the figures with light and dark, rather than outlining.This famous Madonna and Child painting was influential in the careers of other masters of Italian Renaissance art that followed.

Brenda Harness, Art Historian

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