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Stolen Art Still Missing | Leonardo's Madonna with the Yarn Winder

Madonna with the Yarn Winder, Leonardo da Vinci

Madonna with the Yarn Winder
by Leonardo da Vinci, 1501
Stolen art work from the Scottish Collection of the Duke of Buccleuch

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An early work by High Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci is his Madonna with the Yarn Winder, stolen from the private collection of the Duke of Buccleuch in Scotland in 2003. The theft of the Yarn Winder Madonna is an unfortunate loss for art history and art historians since so few authentic Leonardo paintings exist today. Madonna with the Yarn Winder was most likely commissioned in 1501 by the Secretary of State for King Louis XII of France, Florimund Robertet. The Madonna holds her young son, the infant Christ Child, who clutches a crucifix-shaped yarn winder. The melancholy look of the Christ Child as he examines the yarn winder foretells his own death by crucifixion. The dark modeling of the figures in the Yarn Winder Madonna evidences Leonardo’s expert use of his inventive, smoky, sfumato technique to achieve the illusion of three-dimensionality.

Brenda Harness, Art Historian

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