Madonna of the Rocks

Madonna of the Rocks
Artist Leonardo da Vinci
Year 1483-1486
Medium Oil on panel
Location Louvre, Paris
Dimensions 78.3 in × 48.0 in
199 cm × 122 cm

Madonna of the Rocks, also called as Virgin of the Rocks, is a Leonardo da Vinci painting left unfinished by the artist. The painting depicts Mary and the child Jesus inside a cave of rocks accompanied by the Angel Gabriel. The scene illustrates the meeting of the child Jesus and the child St. John the Baptist. Mary is shown guiding the child John the Baptist towards Jesus who sits with the angel.

There are two versions of the paintings. One sits in the Louvre Museum and the other one in the National Gallery of Art in London. The Louvre version was painted with oil on a 199 x 122 cm panel dated c. 1483 – c. 1486. The second and later version in London was painted with oil on a 189.5 cm × 120 cm panel dated c. 1495 – 1508. In the Louvre museum, Angel Gabriel was pointing his hand towards John the Baptist. The London version, which is a more mature version but is believed to be not done by da Vinci alone, doesn’t have the hand gesture of the angel. There are other differences in the attributes between the two paintings. The Louvre version, however, is believed to be done mainly by da Vinci.

The painting was an altarpiece commissioned by the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception to decorate their chapel in the Church of San Francesco Grande in Milan on April 25, 1483. The commission was for Leonardo to do in collaboration with the de Pedis siblings, Evangelista and Ambrogio, who were assigned to do the embellishment, coloring and retouching of the side panels. Another artist, Giacomo del Maino was assigned to do the framework. Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned to paint the central piece.

This painting created a commotion between the artists and the commissioners and the conflict lasted for a long time. Moreover, it has been one of the most intricate religious paintings that stirred intrigues.

2 responses to “Madonna of the Rocks”

  1. sarat mohanty says:

    This painting,Madonna of the rocks, displayed in the louvre museum appears to be an original work by a famous painter. History says it is by Leonardo Da Vinci. But a careful examination brings out a different name. Here it is:
    1.In the apparel of the mother,there is a golden coloured arc upon which three letters could be marked out; MIC. From another angle, one can decipher letter MILO. Upon analysis, one can associate these words to one of the high renaissance artists, Michelangelo.
    2. The muscle structure of the babies has similarities to the muscle structures of the ‘ignudis’ of Sistine Chapel, Vatican where crafted hands of Michelangelo has left much to be adored.
    The karst topography of the Alps mountains served as the idea behind the painting. Michelangelo had himself brought carara marbles from those areas for the tomb of Julius II.
    Download a Louvre version image, sufficiently zoom it, decipher the letters & rightly associate it with his other works. It’s a great piece of art work by a masterly hand.

  2. sarat mohanty says:

    Another piece of evidence that corroborates this fact comes from the facial appearance of the Madonna. The Madonna’s face is similar to the faces depicted in Michelangelo’s sculptures, Madonna of the Bruges and Poets. These are not coincidences; but systematic depiction of Michelangelo’s mind. The Pieta was first completed by him in 1499 or so and it was well received. But when he sculpted the same face for the Madonnna of the Bruges, the same was possibly rejected and he had to sell it to Jan de Moscron of Bruges. The Madonnna of the Rocks is a painting depicting the same face for the Madonnna. The obsession of the Michelangelo for this similarity in face may be due to his individualistic and distinct approach to his works. Although constancy isn’t well appreciated in art, he employed it initially to establish his position in art circle. He was then in his early twenties. Verify yourself.It’s easy.

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